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Author Topic: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...  (Read 4820 times)

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Offline ArisGreekSquared

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  • Posts: 46
Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« on: August 19, 2008, 09:52:23 AM »
Good morning!

I am new the forum! I was never really into the whole forum thing but decided to give it a whirl.

I've been + since I was 14 (I am 27 now) and finally just had to go on medication after 13 years.  I was a bit nervous because my VL was always between 2000-5000 and my CD4 was always above 900, highest was 1117.  My last labs as of 4 months ago were fine and I get a genotype every 6 months and still have not had a mutated virus so I can take any series of drugs, however, I got my labs done about a month ago and my VL shot up to 260K and my CD4 plummeted to 289! Whoa! What happened? No clue...I have no underlying infections and my virus still hasn't mutated from what he saw in the new genotype, not sure what triggered it but the doc said it's really time to start.

So he gave me Atripla and to be honest I was petrified.  I read all about these nasty side effects that people were having so was really getting nervous about it. Historically, I do not get side effects from any medications that I've ever been on.  Now mind you, the only medications I've ever been on aside from Atripla now is the once-in-a-while antibiotic or pain killer. Surprisngly, I have had no side effects and I have been on this since August 5.  I have not had one side effect.  No GI issues, no bad dreams, no headaches, no nausea, no dizziness, nada...I guess I'm fortunate but I'm hoping that it is working.  I feel a lot better, it's been amazing.

The only thing I'm worried about is the lypodistrophy piece of it.  But the doctor said that if I haven't had any side effects from the meds yet then I probably won't have the lypodistrophy issue.  Usually they go hand-in-hand, I guess, from what he said.

So yeah...I just thought I'd share...I'm rather excited.  In the middle of September I'm going to get my blood drawn and see what progress has been made. Yay! :)

-Aris

Offline atlq

  • Member
  • Posts: 518
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 10:20:31 AM »
Aris,

As far as lipo is concerned, don't let worry prejudice you towards treatment. Just be vigilant. By that I mean make sure you have a lipid panel, and blood glucose screen done with your regular blood work and bring any changes you notice in how your body feels to the attention of your doctor. And discuss your concerns with your doc. Make sure they understand that this a quality of life issue that is important to you.

14 years without meds, huh?  That's a great run! And I know you'll respond well to treatment....

Best,
 ;D
ďKeep up the good work....   And God bless you.Ē
  --  Sarah Palin, to members of the Alaskan Independence Party, 2008

Offline ArisGreekSquared

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 10:25:51 AM »
Good call, sir :) I guess I'll worry about it when I notice anything significant.

Offline keyite

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  • Posts: 514
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2008, 11:57:56 AM »
The impression my doc gave me was that this combo has a comparatively low incidence of lipodystrophy. When it does happen I believe people often also have lipid abnormalities, so monitoring and managing these might prevent its onset. I don't think lipo is associated with any other side effects.

Welcome to the forums! ;)

Offline Assurbanipal

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  • Posts: 2,173
  • Taking a forums break, still see PM's
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2008, 12:40:33 PM »
Glad to hear you are having an easy start on Atripla -- here's to many more uneventful years!

And welcome to the forums
Assurbanipal
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline BigPlans

  • Member
  • Posts: 14
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2008, 06:07:23 PM »
Thanks for posting the positive information.  I sometimes avoid these forums cause I see a lot of the problems and don't want to take too much of that in.  I may start meds soon and it's great to hear from someone that is doing well and not having any side effects.  Wish you the best. :)

Online Miss Philicia

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  • Posts: 24,208
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2008, 06:19:49 PM »
But the doctor said that if I haven't had any side effects from the meds yet then I probably won't have the lypodistrophy issue.  Usually they go hand-in-hand, I guess, from what he said.


That seems like a very odd statement for an HIV specialist to be making, frankly.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline ArisGreekSquared

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2008, 09:42:56 PM »
I often thought that too, but that's what he's noticed in the few patients that never had side effects from anything.  HIV is so awkward that it could be 1 way for someone and another for someone else.  There's really not much consitency.

Online Miss Philicia

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  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2008, 09:46:15 PM »
Which is why it was a really dumb statement to make. 
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline ArisGreekSquared

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2008, 09:49:33 PM »
Eh, I dont' really care.  It doesn't bother me.  It's all generalization, anyway. I'm more of a fact kind of guy so I don't go on assumptions :) I took his comment with a grain of salt.

Offline YaKaMein

  • Member
  • Posts: 368
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2008, 10:22:35 PM »
Aris,
Sounds like you have a level and fantastic attitude along with a good rapport with your physician. Just keep a eye on any changes with your body physically or mentally. Get and keep copies of all your labs and discuss your list of questions or concerns in your visits. Atripla is all I know and it's been a breeze for me. I hope that continues for you as well. if not, we'll deal with it. Sorry you've had to begin HAART after such a good run without it. Cheers!
09/11 Endocrine Consult
08/11 CD4 328 14.9% VL 0
 Disc'd Bactrim DEXA -3.1 Tscore
03/11 CD4 338 14.7% VL 0
11/10 CD4 300 14.3% VL 0 <20copies
07/10 CD4 336 14.0% VL 0 DEXA -2.7 Tscore
03/10 CD4 308 13.4% VL 0 Vit D normal
01/10 Began FOTO
11/09 CD4 274 13.7% VL 0 Chol 173 Trig 131
07/09 CD4 324 13.5% VL 0 DEXA -3.1 Tscore lumbar
03/09 CD4 207 10.9% VL 0
11/08 CD4 227 10.3% VL 0 Chol 176 Trig 156
04/08 CD4 228 9.5% VL 0
01/08 CD4 194 9.0% VL 0
09/07 CD4 176 8.3% VL 0
03/07 CD4 130 9.5% VL 0 Chol 261  Trig 227
12/06 CD4 109 6.4% VL 0
09/06 CD4  88 5.5% VL und desens'd rtd to Bactrim
08/06  Began Atripla
07/06 CD4  59 5.0% VL 145 Chol 117 Trig 104
06/06  Bactrim rash, X2 Dapsone
 EFV & Truvada Chol 128 Trig 131
05/06 CD4  6 (2.0%) VL 78667 only V179D mutation Dx PC MAC

Offline Sydney

  • Member
  • Posts: 25
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2008, 06:13:55 PM »
7/08: 223K VL - 290 CD4 (What happened!?)

Hi Aris ... I'm curious about the movement in your CD4 percentages with the big drop in CD4 numbers.  My CD4 absolute numbers varied a lot over the 23 years pre-treatment, but I gather it's the percentages that should be looked at since they're more stable and a more reliable indicator of change.  I'm not suggesting it wasn't the right time to start treatment (I've pushed that to the limits - but gained a lot of time to stay treatment naive and allow for better drugs to come on the scene).

I'm starting treatment this week, and my doctor prescribed a triple combination containing efavirenz.  The postings here - and other information - have given me the heeby-jeebies about that - so I'm interested that so far you haven't had the nasty side-effects.  Has that continued?

I haven't "cashed in" my prescription yet, and am having a meeting with a second opinion doctor to look at changing Stocrin/Sustiva (efavirenz) to Viramune (nevirapine).  I'll be following your experience with interest!

All the best - and congrats on winning 13 years pre-meds... well done.

Offline ArisGreekSquared

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2008, 02:51:48 PM »
Hi Sydney,

I have not had any side effects yet and it will be a little over a month as of tomorrow.  So far, so good! I haven't noticed anything different.  I feel the same, but the acne on my shoulders has disappeared which started a few months ago and I think it was due to the high viral load so I'm guessing my VL has gone down as there are no more pimples on my shoulders (but it wasn't med related).

Other than that I am fine! Nothing yet and I hope I won't have anything either!

-A

Offline Sydney

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  • Posts: 25
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2008, 06:51:44 AM »
Hi Aris.  I'm really pleased to hear things are going well on the Atripla.  I've been in contact with a guy in London who started Atripla a bit before you did, and he hasn't had any major problems either. He had about three weeks of nausea, but no other nasties. And his viral load has dropped to close to undetectable after only six weeks.

I'm finding all this reassuring in case I have to change horses in the future. I've had my final meeting with a very good specialist - and he was happy enough for me to choose all the alternatives to the ingredients in Atripla - Epzicom/Kivexa + Viramune.  We don't have Atripla in Oz yet.  Anyway, keep the posts coming.  I think it's really important to hear the good news as well to get the balance.

P.S.  Isn't this amazing - talking to complete strangers, across the other side of the world, about things you sometimes don't even share with close friends.    Sto kalo!

Offline ArisGreekSquared

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2008, 08:56:42 AM »
That's great! I'm getting tested the first week in October to see how I've progressed.  I don't know how I feel about Epzicom though, doesn't it have AZT in it? Have you taken a resistance test yet?

I'm suppose to be going to Oz next June for two weeks. I can't wait!! It is amazing talking to people on the other side of the world :)


Offline Imnew2this

  • Member
  • Posts: 36
  • I'm stronger because of it
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2008, 09:08:06 PM »
Glad to hear you are doing so well.  That's VERY encouraging.  I will be starting Atripla tonight.  I'm spending one last evening educating myself and reading encouraging stories of others.  Truly, everyone is inspirational (well, most everyone!   :o)  Here's to all of us kicking viral butt!

Offline Sydney

  • Member
  • Posts: 25
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2008, 06:25:18 AM »
Hi Aris - and Imnew2this (welcome!)

Epzicom (called Kivexa in the European union and Oz): It's a two-in-one - Ziagren (abacavir) + Epivir (lamivudine).  Lamivudine is also known as 3TC - you may be confusing that with AZT (market name, Retrovir).  All these names and codes are bloody confusing!!   I have a chart, with all the alternative names pencilled in - otherwise I'd be totally confused trying to remember what's what.  Like you, I'd be wary of AZT, which seems to have got itself a bit of a bad name for lipo***y. 

The main risk of the abacavir in Epzicom is a "hypersensitivity reaction" - which is a nasty allergic reaction.  But you can have a genetic marker test (HLA-B*570), and if you're negative on that you almost certainly won't get the allergic reaction.  So keep Epzicom in mind as a fall-back if you get a long-term bad reaction to the efavirenz in Atripla.

And no, I haven't had a resistance test yet.  I think they only do that if the viral load starts to climb again after a time on medication.  I've obviously been really lucky with the strain of virus I picked up - it can't have been too virulent, given that I'm still here and only just starting meds after 23 yrs.  I just got re-tested, and my CD4 has gone up from 220 to 330, and VL still only 24,000.  My immune system has been holding the virus in check all these years - though at a cost.  I'm still tempted to delay starting treatment - but I know that's a bad idea!

So let's keep in contact - I'll let you know how I go on my combination (yours is the "preferred" option in the US; and mine's the "alternate" option).  What's good is that there are increasing fall-back options.

If you get to Sydney during your trip, we may even meet!  Warm wishes - and again, sto kalo.
 
And I'mnew2this - good luck - and let's know how you go with the Atripla.  Maybe on this thread so we don't lose each other? ;D

Offline bufguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 161
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2008, 01:48:55 PM »
I've been on Atripla for 2-1/2months now, and can happily report that any side effects I had are now completely gone. First week was bad, but I am tolerating the meds extremely well. 100% adherent and I will be visiting my doc in 10 days. As you can see my Vl went from 47,500 to 130, Cd4 from 511/29% to 667/31% in 5 weeks. I am confident I will be undetectable with my next round of tests.
I just hope this one pill work for me for a long time.
I'm healthy and feeling great.
Good luck to everyone and keep the faith!
5/29/08 confirmed HIV+
6/23/08 Vl 47500  CD4 511/29% CD8 .60
start atripla
8/1/08 Vl 130  CD4 667/31% CD8 .70
9/18/08 Vl un  CD4 not tested
12/19/08 Vl un CD4 723/32% CD8 .80
4/3/09 Vl un CD4 615/36% CD8  .98
8/7/09 vl un CD4 689/35% CD8 .9
12/11/09 vl un CD4 712/38% CD8 .89
4/9/10 vl un CD4 796/39% CD8 1.0
8/20/10 vl un CD4 787/38% CD8 1.0
4/6/10 vl un CD4 865/35% CD8 .9
8/16/10 vl un CD4 924/37% CD8 1.0
12/23/10 vl un CD4 1006/35% CD8 .9
5/2/10 vl un CD4 1040/39% CD8 .9
8/7/13 vl un CD4 840/39% CD8 .9

Offline Imnew2this

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  • Posts: 36
  • I'm stronger because of it
Re: Started Atripla two weeks ago and...
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2008, 11:54:06 PM »
Here's a quick update.  I've been on Atripla for about 2 weeks now.  Everything seems fine!  I had what I would have thought was an acid trip the first night, but now I'm pretty much completely asymptomatic.  I've had a few dreams, but not every night.  I consider myself very fortunate and blessed.  Thanks for the kind words Sydney!

 


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