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MAIN Arrow to HealthHealth Arrow to DiseaseDiseases Arrow to HIV AIDSAIDS/HIV

HIV AIDS Medicines & Side Effects

There are several different drugs used to fight the HIV virus. Like many medications, the NRTIs and other anti retroviral drugs used in AIDS drug therapy have side effects.

The issue of side effects in treating HIV AIDS is important. Since the virus cannot be cured at this time, the medications to keep it under control will be taken for many years by patients.

Research shows that every year about 50% of the patients on this drug therapy will fail to continue the drugs. One reason for this is the inability to tolerate the side effects.

Some of the initial side effects include fatigue, muscle pain, fat loss, anemia, pancreatitis and diarrhea. Long term effects can include high cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease.

What Can Be Done About Side Effects

Realistically, no matter which drugs are prescribed some side effects should be expected. It is important to keep the lines of communication between the care giver and the patient open. Many of the side effects will disappear as the patient adapts to the drug. Others may be helped by medications. For instance, nausea and diarrhea medicines can counteract these problems. Eating certain foods or taking vitamins may ease some of the side effects of NRTIs and protease inhibitors.

If all else fails, it may be possible to substitute other drugs that may be easier for the patient to tolerate. There is a wide range of drugs to treat AIDS and HIV now available. The drugs may produce different side effects in individuals. It makes sense to try a different combination, if at all possible, instead of stopping treatment.

Be Prepared and Proactive

Knowing the possible side effects lets a patient prepare to deal with them if they do occur. Patients also need to communicate to their health professional if side effects seem extreme. You do not have to suffer to survive.

Also see-> Sexually Transmitted Diseases | Men's Health

World AIDS Day

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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