Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Questions About Treatment & Side Effects

My apologies...

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unfair:
Let me first of all beg for forgiveness if I sound totally navie but as I mentioned that its my brother who's infected-I am trying my level best to be of useful help to him in such a trying period.  Well, after the first few frequent visits to the doctors and clinics, he's been put on medication.
I have been running some researches so that we can understand his medications better and what are the alternatives and side effects and the like. I came up with some names that got me rather confused ???
. Here's a list of what I found:
Viramune-http://www.drugdelivery.ca/s3808-s-VIRAMUNE.aspx
Videx-http://www.drugdelivery.ca/s3811-s-VIDEX.aspx
Viracept-http://www.drugdelivery.ca/s3809-s-VIRACEPT.aspx
Ziagen-http://www.drugdelivery.ca/s3804-s-ZIAGEN.aspx
Zerit-http://www.drugdelivery.ca/s3734-s-ZERIT.aspx

I read each of the descriptions but I would like to have a better view from those who have used any of these medications before or still using them.
Thanks for helping me out, I appreciate any help.

Sorry for the long post :(

Ann:
Hi Unfair,

I've split your post out of the thread you posted it in, as it was a hijack of that thread. It will be easier for someone to answer you when you post your questions in your own thread. To start your own thread, look at the top of the main Living With page (for example, use the main page of the appropriate forum) and click on the button on the upper right hand side that says "new topic".

It might also help if you give us more background on yourself and more importantly, your brother.

If you look at the top left hand corner of any forum page, you'll see links to other sections of this website. One is called drugs and you'll find very good information there. Please also read the Welcome thread near the top of this forum for more information about what is available on this website.

And please don't feel like I've just told you off; I realise you are probably new to internet forums and don't yet know how they work. That's ok! We all have to start somewhere. ;)

Ann

newt:
Hey hello,

Good that you are researching info for your brother

This five-drug combination is unusual.  Is there a special reason why your bro' needs five drugs.  If so, is there a special reason why it has to be these five drugs? Do you have access to any others?

All the drugs are effective and well-tested, but...

A normal first-time combination would be: 2 nukes plus EITHER 1 non-nuke OR 1 PI.

This combo is: 3 nukes plus 1 non-nuke AND 1 PI.

Recent studies show there's no benefit from using 3 rather than 2 nukes.  The only reasons I can imagine that your bro' is on this combination is (1) some kind of resistance makes it necessary (though I sill doubt that it's the best option) (2) Your bro's doc has got a bit enthusiastic with the prescription pad (ie is stupid).

Some good questions to ask would be:

 (1) why is my bro' on five drugs - the only correct answer to this question, other than he's allergic to all the rest of the HIV meds in the world, is "he has X mutations which mean we must use these drugs".  There is very little evidence that more than 3 HIV meds gives a better long-term response for treatment first-timers.

(2) does he have any resistance? - if they say yes, ask for a copy of the resistance report, also called a genotype - this will be a load of numbers and letter, but if you share the info here, several smart people can tell you what they mean, and the realistic treatment options. - if they say no, go back to queston 1.

All the drugs in the list have alternatives, which, resistance & availability aside, you bro' might like to consider.  Me, personally, I would deffo want to consider dropping/replacing the Zerit if possible since this is well-known for causing fat loss and peripheral neuropathy, two serious long-term side effects, in a large % of people who use it.

US guidelines recommend not using Zerit & Videx together because this increases the risk of side effects, including some acute & potentially dangerous ones.  This suggests to me that the combo is perhaps not well-thought out & there will be a better combo for your brother than the heavy 5-drug one he's on at the moment. 

This is probably all a bit brutal and technical if you are new to HIV meds. Please feel free to ask more questions. I have put links to info on each of the drugs below.

- matt

=====

You can read about each drug in the DRUGS section of this website. I have put a link here to each drug directly.   Since anti-HIV drugs are grouped into classes depending on how they work I have grouped the drugs by class:

Non-nukes (non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors)

Viramune

Nukes (nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors

Videx
Ziagen
Zerit

PIs (protease inhibitors)

Viracept

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