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Author Topic: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!  (Read 4725 times)

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Offline atldyme

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Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« on: October 16, 2008, 07:08:15 PM »
I started Atripla on Friday and the dizziness and light headiness throughout the night was a little more than I had bargained for. I wasn't any good that Saturday and Sunday it seemed a bit more bearable. But when I got up for work Monday morning, a little earlier than I did Saturday and Sunday, I was a basket case. I came into work with a severe headache, dizzy, drowsy and the light from my computer screen was torture.

I immediately left work and drove - with extra caution - to my doctor. He stopped me from taking the medication and told me to get some rest. He prescribed something for the nausea, but told me it should be out of my system in a few days.

I was always reluctant to start meds since I was diagnosed 5 years ago.

My TCell Count has never dropped below 350 (currently 518) and my VL has always been somewhere between 7-16,000, which is not high!

I think I'm a slow progressor, and my doctor agrees...I'm just wondering what you guys' take is on starting meds earlier and did I stop the Atripla too early. If so, maybe I should prepare to go on Meds by vacationing that week and not having to work because there was no way I could function in that state.

Your thoughts please.....

Also, if anyone is out there who doesn't have insurance and would like free Atripla, I'll be more than happy to send them. First come, first serve.

Offline newt

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2008, 08:16:34 PM »
Well hello

welcome, bad trip way to meet  :D

But your experience is not so untypical, it does tend to get better.

On the other hand, you know if Atripla ain't for you. There are plenty of other (non-psychoactive) options

If your CD4 is on average over 400 then perhaps treatment is really a long way off

Also, having stopped Atripla sudden like I personally would be cautious about restarting, because of resistance, either keep a very close eye on viral load for the first year or use sommat else.

It is easier to start meds when work is not in the way, that's what i did, had 5 days off. unnecessary in the end. Combo was v kind (not Sustiva based, it's the Sustiva in Atripla causing the trips).

Welcome, good luck

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

Offline makesmewonder

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2008, 03:54:11 AM »

I am feeling the same! i started meds last monday! i started Viramune+Truvada, i am feeling very dizzy and i even feel some eletrec shocks in my head! i come to work and feel light headed the whole day! went to see my doc yesterday he said that i should wait a little bit more so that my body gets used to the medication! ahhhhhhhhhhh
so i will wait until Monday, and if it did not change i will go back there! i decided not to take time off work cause then i would be in my flat by myself and think that would be worse! hehehe
But i hope this dizziness go away soon! i know the way you felt and its horrible!
I had to start the treatment cause my cd4 was 250!! so its now or never!
Well hope you get better!


Offline mecch

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2008, 07:38:45 AM »
It was your personal reaction to the sustiva in all probability.

Don't you think you should be following up with all your questions with your doctor in the next few weeks.   If starting treatment was a decision you made together for some reason, then perhaps another combo is in order. 

Its seem whimsical to start treatment, discover it does not work for you, and then decide you are a slow progressor and delay treatment. Maybe that is the right decision, considering your reaction to your first try.  But, why did you start, then? You and your ID should have this conversation.

« Last Edit: October 17, 2008, 07:43:01 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2008, 08:25:22 AM »

   The side effects you went through with the Atripla  are pretty much the norm for the first week or two.  Of course I say this as an outsider with no knowledge on the severity of your nausea.
    Did you take it on an empty stomach?  Not doing so can cause the side effects to be more severe, especially in the beginning. 
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline Peter Staley

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2008, 10:17:48 AM »
Sustiva/Atripla stories like this make me sad.  I'm not blaming atldyme for the decisions you made, but you weren't adequately counseled on the break-in period of starting this drug.

When folks are fully informed about how Sustiva messes with your head during the first week or two, then they invariably handle it fine (it can even be kind of fun seeing how MUCH it messes with you head, although I'll be the first to warn folks that in rare cases, it causes dangerous levels of depression, typically in those with a prior history of clinical depression). 

When they aren't informed, they can panic at the unexpected side effects, stop their meds, and potentially cause HIV drug resistance (Sustiva stays in your system much longer than the other drugs in Atripla, so the misinformed docs who advise patients to stop Atripla cold turkey are putting their patients at risk).

So how can one be better prepared before starting Sustiva or Atripla?  Start by reading this handy lesson on our website:

Tips & Tricks on Taking Sustiva

Offline LordBerners

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2008, 02:30:21 PM »
Peter I could not agree more - my own experience was that I was not well counselled about side effects, though in fairness the extremely severe ones I experienced were apparentely mostly the result of an undiagnosed underlying case of tuberculosis.  Once I had that opportunistic infection well under controll I had almost no side effects at all from the Sustiva/Truvada (same as Atripla) combo.  Alas I still don't know if my previous two cessations of treatment caused resistance.  Time will tell.. I guess I should know within a few more months...
Please, just call me Berners.. or Baron.

Offline a2z

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2008, 08:48:20 PM »
I'll be the first to warn folks that in rare cases, it causes dangerous levels of depression, typically in those with a prior history of clinical depression

Its for this exact reason my doctor prescribed me a different combo than this one.
Dates are blood draw dates:
3/12/15: CD4 941, 36.4%, VL UD
9/4/14: CD4 948, 37.9%, VL 150
5/23/14: CD4 895 --.-% VL UD - Truvada/Isentress
09/21/09: CD4 898 27.0% VL 120 - back on track, same meds.High level enzymes, but less so
06/15/09: CD4 478 21.8% VL 1150 - high liver enzymes... looks like I may not be resistant
05/22/09: Fixed insurance, resumed medicine
04/17/09: Ran out of medicine, could not resolve insurance problems
04/01/09: CD4 773 28% VL 120 - high liver enzymes
12/01/08: CD4 514 23% VL 630
10/17/08 started Reyataz, Norvir and Truvada. -- possibly minor neuropathy, but otherwise okay.
9/10/08: CD4 345 17%, VL > 78K
8/18/08: CD4 312 18%, VL > 60K (considering meds)
12/19/07: CD4 550 28% VL > 100K (no meds yet)
Diagnosed 10/23/07

Offline atldyme

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2008, 11:48:32 AM »
I want to thank you guys for your responses and take a stab at answering your questions and addressing other comments.

My ID and I have always had a straightforward, direct relationship. I've always been anti-medication, not just with dealing with HIV but throughout my adult life. As a result, I've always tried to stay healthy, eat right, work out, take vitamins and all-natural supplements that strengthen the immune system, etc. etc. My doctor, who has never forced medication on me, but have suggested it because he believes that starting medication early has it advantages, so on.

So together we set a number - if I dropped below 350, I'd start meds. He was on board with that. Well, when my numbers came back at let's say 353, we figured it was time. I placed the order, but held the pills for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I insisted my doc draw blood again. The results, my TCell Count came back at around 520.

So I was faced with should I, shouldn't I....of course my doc encouraged it, but clearly explained that if I didn't I wasn't in any danger persay.

Although I've heard of people living with HIV who never had to go on meds, I figured my situation was inevitable...so I started the meds, even at 520.

I've always been informed about my health and trust me, I've read these blogs and forums over and over about side effects of Atripla and the tricks to surviving the trip! I had numerous conversations with my doc about it, I have friends who swear by it!  BUT when I tell you that it was one of the WORST experiences - through all of my preparation - is an understatement.

The drugs affect people differently, so no one can say that I was inadequately prepared. I was prepared for the side effects, but in all fairness, compared to friends and others, I couldn't handle the severity of them. When I was taking the drug, the most comfortable thing for me was laying down with my eyes closed. Enduring that for one or two weeks was just not an option....I promise, it was HORRIBLE! LOL

You guys are great and thanks for your well wishes! My prayers are with all of us, including you.

Thanks again for the responses.

Offline Peter Staley

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2008, 12:50:05 PM »
Thanks for the additional clarification, atldyme.  And sorry for assuming too much about what your knowledge level was before starting.

Sounds like you did the right thing stopping the meds, although taking some Truvada for a few days while the Sustiva left your system might have been a little safer as far as preventing resistance.  But odds are you're fine.

Once your CD4s drop below 350 consistently, I'd recommend Reyataz (boosted with Norvir) + Truvada.

Offline atldyme

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Re: Had to end Atripla after a weekend of TRIPPING!
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2008, 03:32:36 PM »
No problem Peter, thanks for your response.


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