Treatment with Zyprexa

Question

I am a 33 yr. old HIV positive male, I've been positive about 5 years and have not started any hiv meds because my cd4 has remained above 500 and my viral load has yet to exceed 25,000. My doctor has just started me on a medication called ZYPREXA, he says that he puts all of his hiv+ patients on this medication. I have looked it up and it says it is for schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, I have neither of these but he says it is good for me to be on because it will keep my thoughts clear. What exactly is this medication and is it a popular med for hiv positive people. I am just trying to figure out why I should be on this med and "it will keep your thoughts clear" isn't enough of an explaination for me. Also the medication is very expensive and I have no insurance so my doctor got me a med card called "Special pharmaceutical benefit card" that will cover the cost of the med but the only way to get me the card was to send in an official diagnosis of "schizophrenia" in order for me to qualify, he said don't worry about it no one will know and if it comes up later in life that I was given that diagnosis would that bother me, I told him no and agreed to it to get the card to cover the meds. Does all this sound normal???

 Robert (PA)

Answer

No, it does not sound right. Zyprexa is a powerful antipsychotic medicine used primarily to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is also used to treat other psychotic disorders.

It is certainly not a medicine that every HIV+ patient should be on. It is sedating, and is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and with neurologic side effects. This is an excellent medication for those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychotic disorders, but it should only be taken by people who need it.