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Author Topic: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?  (Read 2833 times)

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nychope1

  • Guest
Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« on: November 02, 2010, 10:05:06 AM »
It's only been a week or so since the results came back and my mind is possibly just starting to wrap itself around the idea of what this all will entail. I thought at the age of 45 that I was somehow immune to it and that I was one of the lucky ones. I have only told one very close friend and I feel even he looks at me differently now. At my lowest point I had to confide in someone. His best advice was not to tell my family right now. In retrospect of just over a week I believe that was a smart decision for me. I am not completely out but have not lived in a closet with closed doors either.

My doctor has been pretty much compassionate and supportive. He is an ID specialist here in NYC and pretty up there in age so he has seen the worst of it. When I asked him will they ever find a cure for this he said maybe not in his lifetime but definitely in mine. He followed that up by telling me that he takes up to four pills a day himself for his own ailments. I wonder if he knows how much that meant for me to hear as I was balling in his office.

This forum has been incredibly helpful in navigating through all of the information that I am naturally craving and need to find out. Although my numbers are quite good, a cd4 over 500, my doc told me if it were him he would start on meds. I think that is the biggest mind screw. All of the different opinions and experiences that I have read about seem to confuse me more. His choices for me are Atripla or Truvada/Norvir/Prezista. He was concerned that Atripla might not be the best choice considering my state of mind. After reading a lot about the side effects and the personal experiences of those here who are taking it I might give it a try. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I want to decide by Wednesday.

I keep telling myself: All in all we have to go on. There are worse things to get. Give yourself time to think and heal and process. The muddy waters will clear and you will find the right path to shore. Keep the faith and stay tough.

Best...

Offline woodshere

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  • Posts: 1,477
  • ain't no shame in my game
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2010, 04:06:37 PM »
That's one of the problems of so much info, you can get into HIV/AIDS overload.  You just have to sift through it all and decide what is best for you.  One thing that was a major factor in my deciding which meds to take was how easy it would be to adhere to them based on my lifestyle.  I finally went with a combo of Truvada/Norvir/Reyataz because of the limited side effects and i take them one time a day in the am.  Remember that you need to be proactive on your healthcare with your dr and discuss any of his/her suggestions, which is sounds like you have.  Good luck
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 11,503
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2010, 04:16:42 PM »
Gee sorry to hear about your diagnosis.
Did your ID estimate how long you have been infected, and or, do you have an idea?
Maybe if you have been positive for quite a while, there is no need to rush in the next weeks just after diagnosis to also decide about taking haart, and which one.
Where I live in western Switzerland, the IDs in Geneva tend more and more to offer HAART at diagnosis, no matter the pressing need or not.  In Lausanne they tend to be more in the standard protocal of watching trends in the blood work and starting at a judicious moment.
If your doc worries that you can't handle atripla cause you are stressed about the recent diagnosis, then maybe the key is to wait until you've chilled out a bit, before starting anything.
But, if you decide to go with starting now, then take the Prezista.  Either choice is top notch so I'm sure you will be content with the success.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • Posts: 24,016
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2010, 04:36:02 PM »
Why do you need to decide this by Wednesday?
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

nychope1

  • Guest
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2010, 06:04:21 PM »
Thanks for the feed back folks. I am seeing my doc tomorrow and want to make a decision by then. I have mulled all this over and read a barrage of info and feel like there is no particular right answer. Choosing a course of action, either way, I think might help me get back to a somewhat normal life.

Other folks experiences with their meds are the most helpful to me. So I appreciate the input very much. I am of course worried about all these side effects associated with meds. The idea of taking one pill a day is very attractive. I keep reading about these dreams and that scares me some but they are only dreams after all.

Can some of you chime in about your experience with Atripla? Were the side effects bad? Did they go away? How long can one take it before the body becomes immune?

Thanks again for the input... getting some sanity back.

Offline ElZorro

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  • Posts: 535
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 06:58:03 PM »
Can some of you chime in about your experience with Atripla? Were the side effects bad? Did they go away? How long can one take it before the body becomes immune?

You may want to peruse some of the posts under "Treatment & Side Effects". Here are some very recent discussions about Atripla and side effects. As Mecch has said (many times) though, everyone is different with respect to how the meds affect them. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to find out. I would stress, though, that, should you find that a med doesn't work well for you (meaning side-effects), you shouldn't think twice about talking to your doctor about alternatives. There are a lot of folks who seem to do well on Atripla. I wasn't one of them and dealt with it for almost a year because I was hesitant to switch. In hindsight, that was just me being uninformed and naive about treating this virus. Thankfully, some very wise folks out here helped me see the light.  ;)

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=34421.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=34908.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=34784.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=33982.0

Also, there was a recent poll (or question) out here about "when to start" and I thought it was an interesting read in that, many (?) several (?) folks indicated that they would have started their treatment sooner had they been more informed. That being said, there are also folks here who (thankfully) are doing extremely well without meds and have been HIV+ for many, many years. Again, it's a "personal" virus and everyone's mileage seems to vary.  ???

Best of luck to you!


edited to add:

He is an ID specialist here in NYC and pretty up there in age so he has seen the worst of it. When I asked him will they ever find a cure for this he said maybe not in his lifetime but definitely in mine.
It's so great to hear the doctors speak so positively about the search for a cure!
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 07:12:48 PM by ElZorro »

nychope1

  • Guest
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2010, 08:52:48 PM »
Whew! Thank you for the links. Seems a lot of folks switched off the Atripla. I also noticed that no one stays on one med very long. Is that due to the virus becoming immune to particular drugs?

If that is the case I am more conflicted whether to start or not. Can a person live twenty years on meds?

Def don't want to bring anyone down here.  It is very encouraging seeing that so many are doing well and trying to learn from them...

Thanks again!

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 11,503
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 09:02:11 PM »
You are using the wrong word.

A persons virus can become resistant to a particular combo.  This is not very common nowadays - the key to your success is once you decide to start haart - you have to be adherent.  The medicine is very good nowadays.  You will eventually be undetectable and if you are adherent, you should stay undetectable.

People in your situation - going on HAART nowadays - dont often switch because of resistance. They switch to find the combo with the least side effects.  Thats good news.

I think you have a lot more to read.  Most doctors predict a near normal life span for people who have access to doctors and medicine.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

nychope1

  • Guest
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2010, 11:27:32 PM »
Appreciate the info and clarification, mecch...

That is heartening information. You sound like a strong and courageous person.
My doc told me that by early next year they are coming out with a one a day pill containing Truvava/Noivir/Prezista, which he mentioned is easy to tolerate.

To answer your earlier question, I most likely became infected in the last 6 months and tested positive two weeks ago. How that weighs in I am not sure.
I'm leaning towards trying the Atripla. I hope that I can handle it. The alternative of four pills in the morning is just hard to for me to swallow..(no pun intended).

I am very thankful for this forum. I don't know anyone with HIV and having this platform to share my story and ask questions is invaluable. Thank you.


Offline phildinftlaudy

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  • Posts: 2,965
  • sweet Ann what you think babe...
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 11:36:21 PM »
Welcome to the Forums NYhope,
I've been on Atripla for about a year -
I haven't had really any negative side effects - some vivid dreams and a little bit of morning grogginess but other then that nothing major.
Everyone is different and most people who experience more intense effects usually see them subside after a week or two of being on it.
There are some who do better in regards to side effects on other meds.
For me, I will stay with the Atripla as long as possible - which hopefully will be permanently or until there is  a cure or something else that my doc says will be even better...
But, I like the once a day dosing and I tolerate it well with and without food and with my Coronas....
I'm sure whichever med you choose, you will do fine.  Keep a postive attitude; ask questions; and give and receive support and most things go pretty well.
Welcome again.
September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Labs:
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
03/12  1,041  42  <20
05/12  1,241  47  <20
08/12   780    37  <20
11/12   549    35  <20
02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

nychope1

  • Guest
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2010, 01:32:23 PM »
that's great to know, phildinftlaudy... thanks so much for sharing your experience.
I just came from the doc and my cd4 is 525 and my vl is 5200. That's without any meds. He gave me a prescription for Atripla and I will start it this weekend.

Have you had any issues with lipodystrophy? Has your body changed after a year on Atripla? The doc told me it was a possibility.

thanks agian..

Offline SteveInToronto

  • Member
  • Posts: 55
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2010, 05:36:37 PM »

Can some of you chime in about your experience with Atripla? Were the side effects bad? Did they go away?

Hi nychope... I was also recently diagnosed, but my CD4 #s were much lower than yours -- high 200s and VL 70,000+. I started medicaton right away, and selected Atripla out of a number of options. I chose this mainly for the single pill once a day routine that I felt would be much easier for me to stay on top of.

I had some shitty side effects. A really uncomfortable rash that started on the 10th day and lasted a week. I was incredibly itchy and red all over. I also had a headache for about 2 weeks. Both the headache and the rash have passed, and I feel really good now. I have not yet had any unusual dreams.

I must admit that I was somewhat shocked at the staggering price of Atripla!

Steve

Offline numbersguy82

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  • Posts: 292
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2010, 05:14:58 PM »
Hi nychope... I was also recently diagnosed, but my CD4 #s were much lower than yours -- high 200s and VL 70,000+. I started medicaton right away, and selected Atripla out of a number of options. I chose this mainly for the single pill once a day routine that I felt would be much easier for me to stay on top of.

I had some shitty side effects. A really uncomfortable rash that started on the 10th day and lasted a week. I was incredibly itchy and red all over. I also had a headache for about 2 weeks. Both the headache and the rash have passed, and I feel really good now. I have not yet had any unusual dreams.

I must admit that I was somewhat shocked at the staggering price of Atripla!

Steve

Welcome NYC! Sorry about your recent diagnosis. I second what Steve said about side-effects but only instead of Atripla, I am on Norvir, Prezista, and Truvada. I had an uncomfortable rash and severe headaches and fevers for 2 weeks. Afterwards however I am feeling like a new person, and my numbers thus far have been impressive. From what I understand both of these regiments are very effective. The deciding factor for me was that some Atripla users report a fogginess or haziness that lasts much longer than the usual initial side effects last. I am an accountant and my doctor was concerned that I might be one of the few with this problem, and since both are excellent I chose NPT. I couldn't be happier and while Atripla tends to be the "it" drug of choice I am not interested in switching off of NPT. Hope this helps and good luck with what ever you decide. See ya around!!!
8/10- 73 cd4, 7%, and 300k VL *First Labs*
9/10- Started Norvir, Prezista, and Truvada
10/10- 511 cd4, 22%, and 886 VL
12/10- 498 cd4, 22%, and 106 VL
3/11- 529 cd4, 29%, and 101 VL
8/11- 620 cd4, 30%, and 74 VL- Switched to Atripla
10/11- 580 ce4, 30%, and 62 VL
12/11- 684 cd4, 31%, and FINALLY *UD*

Offline wtfimpoz

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  • Let's make biscuits!
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2010, 06:34:25 PM »
The deciding factor for me was that some Atripla users report a fogginess or haziness that lasts much longer than the usual initial side effects last. I am an accountant and my doctor was concerned that I might be one of the few with this problem,

Was there something about your labs/history that made her concerned about this, or was it just because of the line of work you're in?
09/01/2009-neg
mid april, 2010, "flu like illness".
06/01/2010-weakly reactive ELISA, indeterminant WB
06/06/2010-reactive ELISA, confirmed positive.

DATE       CD4     %     VL
07/15/10  423     33    88k
08/28/10  489     19    189k
09/06/10-Started ATRIPLA
09/15/10  420     38    1400
11/21/10  517     25    51

nychope1

  • Guest
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2010, 10:39:28 PM »
Well, after reading almost all the posts about Atripla on this forum and all the gracious replies to this thread it seems the only way to find out more is to take it. I am thankful all of these choices exist.

You all made it a lot more understandable and a lot less frightening. I am starting tomorrow night.

Don't forget to set your clocks back. 

Offline numbersguy82

  • Member
  • Posts: 292
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2010, 11:35:04 PM »
Was there something about your labs/history that made her concerned about this, or was it just because of the line of work you're in?

It was a combination of factors really. I needed to start meds right away, my resistance test results werent back, and her thoughts were that NPT would be less likely to have resistance issues and also my line of work. All in all they are both once a day options so it was an easy choice.
8/10- 73 cd4, 7%, and 300k VL *First Labs*
9/10- Started Norvir, Prezista, and Truvada
10/10- 511 cd4, 22%, and 886 VL
12/10- 498 cd4, 22%, and 106 VL
3/11- 529 cd4, 29%, and 101 VL
8/11- 620 cd4, 30%, and 74 VL- Switched to Atripla
10/11- 580 ce4, 30%, and 62 VL
12/11- 684 cd4, 31%, and FINALLY *UD*

nychope1

  • Guest
Re: Two weeks in and which meds to choose if any?
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2010, 03:15:11 PM »
Took my first Atripla last night and so far so good. I have no serous side effects other than a little grogginess this morning. Other than that had a lot of energy and a good appetite today. Thanks to all for their thoughts and feedback...  will let you know how it goes.

 


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