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2023 Treatment Guide: Dealing With HIV Med Side Effects?

2023 Treatment Guide: Dealing With HIV Med Side Effects?


<p>2023 Treatment Guide: Dealing With HIV Med Side Effects?</p>
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Here's what you need to know about the most common HIV drug side effects, and what you can do about them.

SIDE EFFECT: DIARRHEA

How common: Extremely; in fact, diarrhea is among the most common reasons why people with HIV stop or switch their meds.

Treatment: Three options: over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medicines such as Imodium (loperamide); Lomotil (diphenoxylate and atropine), which slows the gut to combat diarrhea and is commonly given to cancer patients; or Mytesi (crofelemer), the only Food and Drug Administration-approved drug to relieve noninfectious diarrhea in HIV-positive people. Derived from the red sap of the Croton lechleri plant, Mytesi is only the second botanical prescription drug approved by the FDA.

SIDE EFFECT: MOOD CHANGES, INCLUDING DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY

How common: According to a 2019 study published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 39 percent of people living with HIV were currently experiencing depression. AIDS Beacon previously reported that 63 percent of HIV- positive participants “reported symptoms of depression currently or at some point in the past. Overall, 26 percent of patients reported having had thoughts of suicide and 13 percent of participants reported having attempted suicide in their lifetimes.”

Treatment: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are most effective. According to the National Institutes of Health, medications that have shown efficacy in treating depression in patients with HIV include (generic names) imipramine, desipramine, nortriptyline, amitriptyline, fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, venlafaxine, nefazodone, trazodone, bupropion, and mirtazapine.

SIDE EFFECT: HYPERTENSION/HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

How common: Very. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, for example, reports that 45 percent of its patients with HIV also have a hypertension diagnosis. A report from last year found that a quarter of all people with HIV also have hypertension, with the comorbidity most prevalent in North America and Western Europe. A 2018 review of findings, published in Hypertension, suggests that chronic inflammation associated with HIV and antiretroviral therapy is a major factor in the high rates of hypertension.

Treatment: Stop smoking. Medications include vasodilators (hydralazine), antihypertensives (Cozaar, Avapro, Diovan), ACE inhibitors (Prinivil, Lotensin), calcium channel blockers (Norvasc, Procardia, Plendil), and diuretics (Microzide, Diuril, Zestoretic).

COMORBIDITY: OSTEOPOROSIS AND OSTEOPENIA

How common: Osteopenia and osteoporosis are both forms of bone density loss, with the latter being more severe. Far more people with HIV have osteopenia (60 percent) versus osteoporosis (10-15 percent). The lower your body weight, the more susceptible you are to both. Fracture injuries are more common in young poz people because of it.

Treatment: Bisphosphonate therapy with vitamin D and calcium supplementation and medications including Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Atelvia, and Reclast. And just this year, a study presented at the virtual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections indicated that a “short course of alendronate” (the generic termfor Fosamax and Binosto) at the beginning of tenofovir-based antiretroviral therapy can help prevent bone loss.

COMORBIDITY: CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

How common: It’s the second leading cause of death among people living with HIV.

Treatment: It may include a variety of approaches. There are cholesterol-lowering statin drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor, Zocor, Vytorin, Lescol, Mevacor, Altoprev, Livalo, Pravachol, Advicor, and Simlup. Programs that help you stop smoking, shed excess pounds, and exercise more are all useful. Reduce alcohol and sodium consumption. If your blood pressure is not in a healthy range, your doctor may prescribe medication. Among the options are ACE inhibitors (Vasotec, Prinivil, Zestril, Altace); angiotensin II receptor blockers (Cozaar, Atacand, Diovan); beta blockers (Lopressor, Toprol XL, Corgard, Tenormin); or calcium channel blockers (Norvasc, Cardizem, Dilacor XR, Adalat CC, Procardia).

COMORBIDITY: DIABETES

How common: There’s a type of diabetes caused by pancreatic damage brought on by HIV medications. It’s less common than the other two types, Type 1 and Type 2, but equally damaging.

Treatment: Controlling bloodsugar, medication, insulin treatment, and proper diet are the main treatments, with regular doctor screenings for easy-to-miss complications. Diabetes meds include Lantus, Januvia, Humalog, NovoRapid, Victoza, Farxiga, and about a dozen more.

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Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.

Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.