An Internet survey of more than 403 HIVers taking anti-HIV drugs for an average of eight years has shown that 68% said adverse side effects of the medications or feeling ill makes it difficult to consistently stick to therapy, according to Illinois-based Richard Day Research. Some of the most common adherence barriers reported were fatigue (42%), diarrhea (40%), nausea (29%), sleep disturbances (28%), depression (26%), and body shape changes (26%).
Because most of the causes of inconsistent drug adherence were related to the side effects of the medications, the researchers recommended that doctors adjust each HIV patient's regimen as needed to making sticking to it as easy as possible. Patients also need to be willing to talk with their physicians about drug-related side effects rather than simply skipping doses or stop taking their medications, the researchers said.
On a brighter note, the Internet survey revealed that even with these difficulties, more than two thirds of the respondents reported complete adherence to their regimens.