i've been on treatment for hiv since 1995 and have experienced unpleasant side effects such as facial wasting (d4t?), memory loss, stage 3 a kidney disease (viread)which resolved after eliminating viread, depression, and chronic diarrhea. i'm a fitness buff and eat very well. i asked my doc to investigate the cause of diarhea again and i'm negative for celiac disease, but the pancreatic elastase test came back with a value of 101 which is basically at the level of "Severe exocrine
pancreatic insufficiency." my doc has never been proactive ( i had to insist on being taken off Viread in spite of years of sub par kidney function) and has brushed aside any questions about the condition of my pancreas and how i can improve it. she states she suspects i have an undiagnosed auto immune disease that is responsible. i have never had any symptoms of pancreatitis but am frightened. i'm trying to control my alcohol consumption which had gotten out of hand at five or so drinks per evening. for what it's worth i have a very high metabolism and several docs have commented on how quickly my body processes sedatives ( pre surgery conditions). i'm not trying to excuse the over drinking but need you to know that five drinks over a four hour period in the evening did not leave me staggering or slurring by any means. can hiv itself injure the pancreas? are any of the popular meds likely to have caused the condition? what can i do to improve my pancreatic function? by the way Creon may help a little with diarhea but is no cure. thank you for your time and consideration.
Getting formal fat absorption studies can provide further evidence for pancreatic dysfunction. Some of the older HIV meds can damage pancreas as can alcohol use. There is no easy way to fix severely damaged pancreas but avoiding further aggravating factors is important (such as the alcohol). The improvement in symptoms with pancreatic enzymes further supports the diagnosis-regular use of such enzymes for a period of time (ie 6 months) may quiet down any pancreatic irritation so that use of enzyme can be more intermittent in some cases. Also-discussion with a nutritionist on what foods to avoid in the setting of pancreatic insufficiency is often helpful. HIV itself is only rarely the direct cause of chronic pancreatic. Some of the AIDS related infections and drugs used to treat them used to also involve the pancreas but are not seen commonly now in patients on newer regimens and with decent CD4 counts. KH