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Author Topic: Switching from Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir to Epzicom/Isentress: side effects?  (Read 2945 times)

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Offline wylidas

  • Member
  • Posts: 85
  • Trying to love this life, since it's all we got.
I am having some trouble being able to tell what side effects are caused by what anymore.

Let me start by saying, I have been on Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir since late 2007, and I have had CD4 results ranging from 300-500, with percentage increases consistently and remaining consistently undetectable since early 2008. So why would I switch meds?

Well, I got used to the side effects of those meds which were mild but included things like yellowing eyes, increased heart rate for a few hours after first taking them, and ever increasing BP where eventually I was consistently clocking in at 140-145/85-90, borderline prehypertensive. I am only 32 years old, and this worried me thinking long-term.

So, my doc agreed that a switch wouldn't be such a bad thing. Back in January I started having anxiety round the clock because of some depression/GAD issues I have had for a while, but it became unbearable. I have always dealt with anxiety in the past, but never had it cause me to wake up from sleep with a 110 pulse. This was on another level. So, I had the docs check me out for everything. THyroid, low Testosterone, EKG with heart doc, you name it. Everything came back perfect. Physically the picture of health.

So, I go to a psychiatrist, which I am usually dead set against, but I went anyway. I tell him no SSRIs since I am not doing anything that messes with my brain, and he puts me on Ativan/Buspar combo to take to alleviate the GAD. 4 months later, my GAD is generally better thanks to those meds, but now I am ready to start taking Ezpicom/Isentress, and I took my first dose the other night, and bam, I start feeling tightness in the chest and anxiety. I can't find this in any of the side effects listed for Isentress, and I have been taking Epzicom for years, so there is no way it;s that.

Does anyone have any experience like this with Epzicom + Isentress? I am concerned that if I start being afraid to take my HIV meds, then that is going down a slippery slope, and I don't really envy going back to the Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir combo given the BP issues and other things I have since read about that combination.

I am feeling desperate here, and I almost want to just stop taking EVERYTHING and reboot my system from scratch. I don't believe in pharmaco-therapy, but here I am stuck on these pills cause they will "make me better" when I have never felt more like s*** in my life.

Anyone have any experience or suggestions to offer? I feel completely alone and scared because the doctors don't really know what it's like to take these things. Please help.

-Scared in Austin, TX
Diagnosed + in 2006.
Atripla in 2006 (Bad dreams, nervous system reaction after a few weeks. Discontinued.)
Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir October 2007 - February 2012 (anxiety and elevated BP primary s/x)
UD VL <30
CD4 - fluctuates between 250 - 500 with 25%+
Discontinued meds in February 2012 (due to adherence issues after detoxing from Ativan)
March 2012 - CD4 296, VL 120
4/22/2012 - Started Complera
5/1/2012 - Discontinued Complera, began monitored drug holiday
7/3/2012 - VL 55,000; CD4 211 - started Bactrim
8/5/2012 - Began Truvada + Isentress

Offline newt

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,885
  • the one and original newt
Quote
I don't believe in pharmaco-therapy

But you do believe in death eh?

I fully agree with less drugs ie no SSRTIs. Isentress is new and the side effects, especially what it does to mood and so on, are not properly understood. However, if you hate meds the hate may be the culprit.

This may pass, the anxiety etc. If it don't look at another combo, eg Prezista + 2 NRTIs (and so on).

What you feel about meds, perhaps harder too solve.

All the best

- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline leomoore

  • member
  • Posts: 2
I have not taken Epzicom as part of my cocktail.  I began to develop some resistance after about 8 years of the same cocktail.  After genetic testing of my virus, my doctor offered me some options and opinions.  I chose to take his advice and start Truvada, Ziagen, and Isentress.  I take a couple of Paxil and Wellbutrin to combat depression, which was paralysing at one time, and they have helped me return to a functional state and allowed me to think rationally, again.  Since starting this cocktail two years ago and continuing the anti-depressants, my health has improved remarkably.  Viral loads are undetectable.  CD4 count is in the normal range.  My percentages have been very good as well.  I have experienced no side effects that I can detect.  My first cocktail in the late 1990s produced the most side effects including considerable neuropathy in my feet, a change in my bowels, and cholesterol and triglycerides through the roof.  Since then, the meds have become more effective and produce fewer side effects.

Let me offer a piece of advice I learned several years ago.  Staying informed is good to a point.  I draw the line at reading every possible side effect known just because the power of suggestion is far too strong.  Most of them are extremely rare, but the mind can play lots of tricks on you when anxiety is involved.

Not long ago, I found an app for my Android phone that allowed me to check for interactions between all the drugs I take in addition to antidepressants and antiretrovirals.  It is call HIV iChart and is maintained by the University of Liverpool in England.  It turns out my doctor has been careful and nothing I take interacts to my detriment.

Offline Ann

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  • Member
  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Hi Wydilas, welcome to the forums.

I'm not so sure why you're willing to discount the Epzicom as being the culprit. It is the one thing that has stayed the same in your two combos.

The Ziagen component of the Epzicom can sometimes have cardiac side effects.

Taking medications that include Ziagen may increase the risk of a heart attack. The reason for the increased risk associated with Ziagen, compared with other NRTIs, has not been established. The risk of a heart attack is highest among people living with HIV taking Ziagen who have other cardiovascular disease (CVD) factors, including high blood pressure, high lipids, diabetes, cigarette smoking, family history of CVD. source

It could be that your elevated blood pressure and now the rapid heart beat are both pointing to underlying cardiovascular problems that the Ziagen could be making worse and therefore noticeable.

An alternative to Epzicom worth looking into is Truvada. You can read more about both meds in the drugs section of this website.





edited for clarity
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 05:10:44 PM by Ann »
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

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Offline eric48

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  • Posts: 1,187
  • @HIVPharmaCure & tinyurl.com/HIVPharmaCure
I'm not so sure why you're willing to discount the Epzicom as being the culprit. It is the one thing that has stayed the same in your two combos.

same here... I suffer from anxiety issues that are slowly decreasing, and, I admit that obsessing interest in HIV may contribute. I have never read a post/comment about viramune (my other med) to create anxiety whereas I have come across a small but decent number of posts mentionning Epzicom as the culprit.

Because Epzicom is one daily I have played a bit with either taking it in the evening or the morning.

I had to stop taking it in the morning at the first attempt. (tachycardia, etc)
The second attempt (a few month later) came out better. I now take it in the morning

Eric
NVP/ABC/3TC/... UD; CD4 > 1000; CD4/CD8 ~ 2.0   safety stock : 3 months (2013: FOTO= 5d. ON 2d. OFF)

Offline wylidas

  • Member
  • Posts: 85
  • Trying to love this life, since it's all we got.
Thank you guys for the amazing advice. It truly never even dawned on me that Epzicom could be the culprit, but I am starting to think more and more that you may be right!

I am going to talk to my doc on the next round to see if we can switch me to Truvada/Isentress. Or possibly Truvada/Reyataz/Norvir, depending on if the Isentress side effects are tolerable.

I never even thought of this before now, but I think you guys may be onto something. Truthfully I had to stop drinking caffeine years ago when I started taking Epzicom, and it never really dawned on me why. This would answer a lot of questions!

Thanks so much for the suggestions.
Diagnosed + in 2006.
Atripla in 2006 (Bad dreams, nervous system reaction after a few weeks. Discontinued.)
Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir October 2007 - February 2012 (anxiety and elevated BP primary s/x)
UD VL <30
CD4 - fluctuates between 250 - 500 with 25%+
Discontinued meds in February 2012 (due to adherence issues after detoxing from Ativan)
March 2012 - CD4 296, VL 120
4/22/2012 - Started Complera
5/1/2012 - Discontinued Complera, began monitored drug holiday
7/3/2012 - VL 55,000; CD4 211 - started Bactrim
8/5/2012 - Began Truvada + Isentress

Offline greatarchangels

  • member
  • Posts: 2
  • Trying to adjust to taking completa
I'm wondering if any particular symptom made you stop taking this meds.  this is my 1st time on meds and I feel 100 % worse since i began taking them 5 weeks ago.  My stomach aches and noxiousness is unmanageable at times... I'm seeing a new doctor on Monday and thinking of asking him to take me off.  this blows.
So I found out I am HIV pos last August,  My t cell count back then was 650  now I'm down to 210.  Started taking Completa 10 days ago and having a hard time with it.  Feeling kind of sick.

 


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