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Spring 1999

Our last issue of Notes from the Underground included an article on interactions between anti-HIV medications and street drugs. An important interaction that we left out (sorry!) is the one between alcohol and Ziagen (abacavir). Alcohol increases Ziagen levels in your blood. A small study (24 people) showed that consuming the equivalent of five alcoholic drinks with Ziagen resulted in up to a 41% increase in Ziagen levels. The increase isn't a good thing. Regular Ziagen dosing (300 mg every 12 hours) seems to give you enough of the drug to do the job. Increasing the amount won't fight HIV any better -- it could just increase your risk of side effects. So if you're a drinker, find a combination that doesn't include ZIAGEN!

Just a reminder: Mixing Videx (ddI) with alcohol can increase the risk of pancreatitis (intense stomach pain that feels like it goes all the way through the back.) So if you're using alcohol regularly, don't use Videx. There are other nucleosides to choose from.


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