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Author Topic: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?  (Read 3298 times)

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Offline thethe1

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  • Posts: 7
Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« on: February 19, 2010, 11:10:39 AM »
Hello all. I really need some advice or just some support. Not sure what I'm looking for here but let me explain my situation. A year after my boyfriend and I started dating, he discovered he was positive. I've been checked and nothing came of it, I'm negative. We've been together for 4 years now and all this time I have been begging him to start some type of treatment that will help prolong his life. I love this man with all my heart and will do anything I can for him. I almost sometimes wish it was me in his situation rather than him. Anyway, we went to a doctor specializing in HIV treatment and he did tests and all and decided to start him on Atripla. We carefully read over the drug information knowing all the possible side effects. The doctor explained that not everyone experiences these side effects, but so far he has experienced them all. He has been on the meds for 3 weeks and its not getting better. He can't sleep well, always feels like he is "high", is extremely aggravated and extremely depressed. And that's just not like him. He actually felt better not taking any meds at all. This Atripla is really messing with him. We contacted the doctor and he is going back to see if there are any alternate options. Is there anyone out there that has taken Atripla and switched to something that is much better with less side effects??? Can someone please give us some advice? I'm so worried about him. I know he feels bad and aggravated and depressed and when i try to make him feel better he only gets mad. I don't know what to do!! Please! Anyone with advice????
~together *forever*~

Offline Dsd09

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Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2010, 01:04:08 PM »
Hi thethe1

The side effects of Atripla should have normally greatly subsided after 3 weeks.
My b/f and I were both diagnosed at the same time with roughly similar numbers and both started treatment at the same time on Truvada / Sustiva (the components of Atripla).
It was fine for me, however after 3 weeks for him it became clear that the side effects were getting worse, not better.

Atripla isn't for everyone, but the good news is there are plenty of other first line options available if your doctor decides he needs to come off it. Also, the side effects should subside within a matter of a few days if and when he does stop.

With my b/f, the doctor changed out the Sustiva part for Kaletra, and since then he now has no noticeable effects. (The Sustiva is normally the offending component for side effects). We were both undetectable within a few weeks.

Only important thing is though, he shouldn't just stop taking the tablet without doctor's advice as resistance problems may develop - and this could then limit his treatment options in the future. Best of luck!
07/2009 - Diagnosis
08/2009 - CD4 354 / VL 4700
09/2009 - CD4 286 / VL 3200
10/2009 - CD4 249 / VL n/a - Started Truvada / Sustiva
12/2009 - CD4 318 / VL <40
01/2010 - CD4 316 / VL <40 - Switched Atripla
04/2010 - CD4 370 / VL <40
12/2010 - CD4 342 / VL <40

Offline newt

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Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 02:16:51 PM »
In terms of alternatives, there is no if -- there are several choices. At least one will be suitable.

People decide themselves how long to give Atripla. It is one drug in particular, efavirenz, in this pill that causes the problems. Doctors tend to underestimate the hardship, and -- fairly -- encourage people to ride it out because it's a simple and very effective combo.

But, if it's not for you, it's not for you (or, erm, him more properly).

It's his (your man's) call. I wouldn't hesitate to change, but then I wouldn't hesitate to give it a little more time. It really is up to him to decide. I wouldn't worry about options tho, there are lots.

Even with a change you can still have a once a day combo if this is important, tho it will be more pills.

- matt


Edited for spelling
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 09:26:41 PM by newt »
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 03:40:54 PM »
Hard to determine how long to stick with it, since the symptoms do go away with most people. He should not let this experience color his opinion of meds, they are for the most part very tolerable. If he decides to switch, depending on his resistance profile, these are the recommended combos for starting treatment in the US:


Atripla
Prezista/Norvir/Truvada
Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada
Isentress/Truvada


Dr. Gallant gives his opinion on the pros and cons of each of these combos, LINK:

http://www.hopkins-aids.edu/q_a/patient/recent_questions/lost_on_choosing_medication.html?contentInstanceId=513447&siteId=7151

One important thing I would mention is that he should not just stop taking Atripla because this can lead to resistance of Sustiva and other NNRTIs. The best way to do it is to have the new meds in hand and just switch one day to the next without an interruption in treatment.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 03:42:26 PM by Inchlingblue »

Offline Etay1207

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  • Posts: 131
Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 03:42:42 PM »
My best friend tried Atripla and couldn't handle it. He went back on his previous combo, Reyataz-Truvada-Norvir and LOVES it.
POZ since 1999
1/07 tcells: 530 vl: 72,922 7/07 tcells: 542 vl: 26,577
9/08 tcells: 339 vl: 56,120  7/09 tcells: 267 vl: 663,160
11/09 tcells: 71 vl: 498,670 2/10 tcells: 52 vl: 322,000
 no meds and feeling great!

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 03:57:43 PM »
This Atripla is really messing with him. We contacted the doctor and he is going back to see if there are any alternate options.

There are plenty of other options for HAART.  Doctors drag their heels for different reasons. Ask his doctors point blank why the change isn't happening immediately and then report back, please, is the response doesn't satisfy you and your bf.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline skeebo1969

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  • Posts: 5,702
Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2010, 04:09:05 PM »



  I know about the sleep issues Atripla can cause some people because I experienced it myself.  I would call the doctor first thing Monday morning and tell him/her that the med needs to be changed immediately.  Is it possible to contact him now to find out what other regimen he would have your boyfriend take?
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline GNYC09

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  • Posts: 702
Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2010, 07:48:34 PM »
An acquaintance of mine did not like the Atripla and switched to Isentress...definitely worth discussing all of the options with your bf's doctor

Offline thethe1

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  • Posts: 7
Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 08:09:56 PM »
thank you all so much for your opinions and advice. it is greatly appreciated. its just so hard to see him go through these things. i wasn't sure about signing up for this forum at first, but i am so thankful for all the responses. he called his doctor and he asked if he thought he could keep taking it for a few days. he said he could handle it until Monday. its just unbelievable how bad the side effects are for him. he said he felt better before the meds. but, he has an appointment on Monday to see the doctor and i will definitely keep you guys updated. again, thanks so much and i deeply appreciate it!  :)
~together *forever*~

Offline aztecan

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  • Posts: 5,394
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2010, 12:39:11 AM »
My experience with Sustiva, the offending drug in Atripla which Matt pointed out earlier, was similar to your boyfriend's. I took Sustiva with Combivier, however, not Atripla.
I gave it two months, but was still having major problems. I switched to a boosted Reyataz, although at the time I continued to take Combivir.
I recovered and felt 100 percent better within a few days, although a few bouts of severe brain fog lasted for a week or so.
Let us know how your boyfriend does.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2010, 12:58:12 AM »
Keep in mind, as Mark mentioned, he felt better "within a few days.'' Sustiva has a long half life so even though he should notice improvements soon, it might take a couple of days for it to really improve and get back to normal.

Offline Tempeboy

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  • Posts: 358
  • Like St Francis of Assisi I am wedded to Poverty
Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2010, 01:55:09 AM »
Hey Inchingblue,

Lots of people experience these side effects - especially when starting with Efavirenz.  Your partner should consider switching - and it's his decision - not his doctors - and there are plenty of alternatives.

In the mean time here are a couple of tips that might help, if he isn't already;

Take at night at least 3 hours away from food - including milk etc - proteins make the side effects worse.

If he drinks grapefruit juice or eats grapefruit he should cut the grapefruit - it can make the side effects worse.

Is he taking any other meds besides his HIV meds?  There can be interactions - you can check this site out for further information - http://www.hiv-druginteractions.org/
Roughly roundabout somewhere in the eighteenth or nineteenth century, Sodomite begat Homosexual out of moral, medical and legal models, bequeathing him Identity, who inbred with Nuclear Family and Industrialism to spawn Homophobia.

Dean Kiley

Offline LBpozguy

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  • Posts: 51
Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2010, 01:08:41 PM »
Hey Thethe1:

I totally understand where your b/f is coming from. I started Atripla in Aug 09. I had really bad problems with it. I could not concentrate at all. I felt like I was on speed. I was VERY irritable. I didn't want to leave the house or go to work.

It took me about 2 months to get back to feeling like myself again. I didn't want to change meds if I could avoid it because of how easy Atripla is. (being a once a day one tablet) I really considered changing meds but now I am glad I stuck it out.  Now I feel better than I have in a long long time.

But if your b/f can't seem to wait it out, he should talk to his Doc and discuss changing. But make sure he just doesn't stop taking it because as mentioned before by a prior poster, he would need to come off the meds a certain way to avoid future resistance issues.

Good Luck

LB
Feb 08 neg
Sept 08 - First poz test
Sept 08 CD4 558 (% unk) VL 11000
Dec 08 CD4 480 (29%) VL less than 700
Mar 09 CD4 370  VL 25000
June 09 CD4 425 VL 68000
Aug 09 Started Atripla
Sept 09 CD4 639 VL 100
Nov 09  CD4 716 (35%) VL Undet!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 10 CD4 685 VL UND

Offline buffaloboy

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Re: Horrible Atripla Side Effects in Loved One...Anyone else?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2010, 04:52:44 PM »
''He can't sleep well, always feels like he is "high", is extremely aggravated and extremely depressed. And that's just not like him. He actually felt better not taking any meds at all.''

This is exactly how I felt when I was on Atripla. I managed three weeks before then deciding to stop.

 


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