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Fuzeon's Side Effects

October 2003

This material was developed independently through an unrestricted educational grant from Trimeris.

What is clear from the big clinical studies on Fuzeon is that most HIV treatment-experienced people felt physically better once Fuzeon was included in their regimen. Many of the most common side effects reported with other HIV medications -- such as nausea or diarrhea -- were actually less common in people receiving Fuzeon. This is partly because Fuzeon does not appear to cause these problems, and partly because some of these toxicities were potentially caused by HIV and with HIV under better control, the success of the treatment made these symptoms less common.

Fuzeon's only common side effect is a skin reaction around the area where the drug is injected. While most everyone who takes Fuzeon notices some irritation at the injection site, only about 4 percent of people found this uncomfortable enough to stop the drug within a year.

In clinical studies, about half the people taking Fuzeon rated these reactions as "mild" -- which means that they were relatively small, lasted only a day or so and did not require any treatment for discomfort. However, about 25 percent of patients did report having "moderate" reactions. This may mean that the reactions were a bit larger, lasted a bit longer or had made their skin more tender. But again, these side effects were manageable even after people took Fuzeon for one year.

Researchers are trying to assess what techniques might assist people who are dealing with these reactions, in terms of how to inject differently or what to do after receiving an injection. However, a few observations have been shared by many nurses involved in these studies that may be of help:

  • Inject only superficially in the skin. Avoid going deeper -- injections anywhere near the muscle are more painful.
  • Avoid injecting near a spot that is already tender, since a second injection might increase that discomfort. It is important to inject in different places.

Other observations are being gathered and will be shared by researchers as they are verified over time. See our ten tips on injecting Fuzeon for more advice.

Previous | Next: Conclusion: Fuzeon's Role in Treatment




  
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This article was provided by TheBody.com. It is a part of the publication Fuzeon: A Review of the First Entry Inhibitor.
 

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