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Author Topic: just started atripla  (Read 3657 times)

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Offline shellshocked

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just started atripla
« on: March 29, 2009, 06:04:33 PM »
I was infected in Aug 07, but my CD4 declined very quickly to the 360-400 range, where it has stayed for the past six or so months. On my doctor's recommendation, I started treatment recently. I started taking Atripla on Mar 16. So far it's going quite well. The first week was a little rough in terms of the dizziness and drowsiness, but those were my only side effects so far, and they have largely disappeared. I'm not noticing any other side effects now (with the exception of the occasional disturbing/vivid dream), and I'm feeling great. I'm relieved that it's going well so far because I was definitely anxious and worried about starting treatment.

Now that I'm on treatment, and Atripla specifically, what else should I and my doctor be monitoring?

Offline webontheweb

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Re: just started atripla
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2009, 09:41:01 PM »
welcome to the aTRIPla group!   Just regular chekcups really,  I did not wanat you post to go unanswered because it is a mental change when you go one meds and it is nice to have sometone to talk to and get you going. 
I have a small notebook where I write down questions and observations a day or two before the Dr. visit so that it saves time and lets me get all the questions out in the visit.  Very helpful!


Offline clsoca

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Re: just started atripla
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2009, 12:45:45 AM »
Does anybody know what ever happened to the so-called 10 year  asymptomatic period where no drugs were needed. I feel a bit cheated in not having my 10 year asymptomatic period.
10/07 Infected
11/07 Seroconversion
07/08 Tested Poz
07/08 VL 487  CD4 658  (No Meds)
10/08 VL 286  CD4 724  (No Meds)
01/24/09 VL 30,100   CD4 329 CD4 30% (No Meds)
02/06/09 VL 44,000   CD4 367 CD4 36%  Blood Work @ UCLA (No Meds)
02/06/09 VL 44,000   CD4 317 CD4 35% Blood Work @ USC (No Meds)
02/12/09 VL 52,000   CD4 297 CD4 29%
02/12/09  Started Atripla
04/01/09 VL 60  CD4 667   CD4 48%
06-05-09  VL UD CD4 427   CD4 39%

Offline Ann

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Re: just started atripla
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2009, 08:20:25 AM »

The whole ten-year period was never a guarantee - it's simply a guideline. Some people (unfortunately) progress quicker than others. Some people progress slower. The ten-year thing is more of an average than anything - it's not a standard. This May I will have been positive for twelve years and I'm not on meds yet, but I know plenty of people who had to start within the first five years.

To be honest, you probably could have waited. Your CD4% was quite good when you started and your VL wasn't really all that high. Considering that you're still in the early days of your infection, your CD4 numbers could well have gone back up. If that had been me with those numbers, I would have opted to wait a while and see what happened. As I said, your CD4% was very, very good. The percent is a better number to go by (IMO) because it fluctuates less. You were positive for just over a year when you started, and it can take at least that long for your body to get to grips with the virus and for your numbers to begin to stabilize.

But now that you're on the meds, good luck with them. Many people would rather be on the meds than not, because if nothing else, it gives them a sense of being in control. When one's numbers are in that grey area of to treat or not to treat, it's more of a personal choice (to be made in conjunction with a knowledgeable doctor) than anything.

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Offline bufguy

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Re: just started atripla
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2009, 09:26:21 AM »
Although I'm not sure when I was infected....never recall seroconversion, I started Atripla last June with similar numbers to you. Vl 47,500, CD4 511 and CD4% 29. With all the latest studies on recommending early start, I was quite relieved to start.
I went through about 7-10 days of adjustment to Atripla, but know I feel great.
As Ann said some people like me like the idea of being in control of the virus.Good Luck and keep us posted
5/29/08 confirmed HIV+
6/23/08 Vl 47500  CD4 511/29% CD8 .60
start atripla
8/1/08 Vl 130  CD4 667/31% CD8 .70
9/18/08 Vl un  CD4 not tested
12/19/08 Vl un CD4 723/32% CD8 .80
4/3/09 Vl un CD4 615/36% CD8  .98
8/7/09 vl un CD4 689/35% CD8 .9
12/11/09 vl un CD4 712/38% CD8 .89
4/9/10 vl un CD4 796/39% CD8 1.0
8/20/10 vl un CD4 787/38% CD8 1.0
4/6/10 vl un CD4 865/35% CD8 .9
8/16/10 vl un CD4 924/37% CD8 1.0
12/23/10 vl un CD4 1006/35% CD8 .9
5/2/10 vl un CD4 1040/39% CD8 .9
8/7/13 vl un CD4 840/39% CD8 .9

Offline clsoca

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Re: just started atripla
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2009, 04:27:34 PM »

I get my new numbers tomorrow and I will post a new thread about my new numbers. The overriding reason why I opted to go on meds is that I am a commissioned employee and when I get sick....I don't get paid. I have excellent company supplied insurance with a  co-payment of $10.00 for 30 days of Atripla. But if you read my prior postings, It was still not an easy decision to make.
10/07 Infected
11/07 Seroconversion
07/08 Tested Poz
07/08 VL 487  CD4 658  (No Meds)
10/08 VL 286  CD4 724  (No Meds)
01/24/09 VL 30,100   CD4 329 CD4 30% (No Meds)
02/06/09 VL 44,000   CD4 367 CD4 36%  Blood Work @ UCLA (No Meds)
02/06/09 VL 44,000   CD4 317 CD4 35% Blood Work @ USC (No Meds)
02/12/09 VL 52,000   CD4 297 CD4 29%
02/12/09  Started Atripla
04/01/09 VL 60  CD4 667   CD4 48%
06-05-09  VL UD CD4 427   CD4 39%

Offline azblatino

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  • Posts: 1
Atripla and me. Oh joy.
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2009, 12:00:05 AM »
I started on Atripla on March 16, 2009, and I thought I had lucked out and maybe found the wonder drug of HIV. Now, I spend my time day dreaming whether I'd have more success in building in a time machine to go back in time to stop myself from ever becoming infected (I'll let the Trekkies work out the paradox problems with that) or would it be easier to change careers, learn everything I ever ignored about science and try to find a cure within in the next 6 months just so I don't have to keep taking this life-saving pill from hell.

I contracted HIV in Aug of 05 and tested positive in Sept 05. I ignored it all until 06 and was doing fine until recently when the fatigue, lingering colds and other ailments wore me down enough to let me let my truly wonderful doctor push his HIV-drug wares on me like a crack dealer trying to meet his soul condemning quota for the day. My 134 T cell count and mushrooming viral count also sold me out to the doc that maybe now was the time. Snitches! I was operating under the theory that I could extend my life and quality of life by postponing meds, but I finally conceded that unless they made a miracle drug that could reverse your immune system's status overnight, one day I just may have waited too long to start treatment, so I caved and signed up on the Atripla train. I want off, but I don't wanna fall under the rails.

My doc is a great guy and knows by the number of visits I skip that adherence won't be my defining quality, so he recommended, this once daily wonder pill. For a a few days, all was peachy keen. No freaky dreams, no runs, no vomiting, nothing. I thought maybe I had somehow timed this HIV meds thing just right. Then BAM....I started waking up 10 hours after dosing, 12 hours after dosing, 15 hours after dosing. Fortunately, my job is easy with the time off. Then the fitful sleep started. Then the dreams. I've never been good at recalling my dreams, and maybe it is now a blessing in disguise. When the fitful sleep wakes me up in the night, I lose count of how many times I have thought that I need to turn out of the lights in my room from cell phones, alarms clocks, TV power indicators, so that when the inevitable intruder enters my room, I will have the ninja-like advantage over him in the dark. When i'm not convinced that James Bond-like intruders want into my bedroom, I dream of doing paperwork or running errands with such clarity that the next day, I often wonder what I've already done for the week. My 2 dogs have now accepted that I am nuttier than they are and let me hug them tightly all night like pillows without yelping or complaining. They probably have no clue what I'm going through, but I'm glad they're there.

So, when I woke up 1 week ago and thought my dogs must have brought in some killer pollen off the backyard grass and weeds...which was the ONLY possible explanation for why my chest, neck and arms had turned cherry red and slightly swollen, I felt horirible when I had to evict them to sleeping in the hallway. Then, just as the depression was truly setting in that I would NEVER be honey golden brown again (the color I see myself in my mind's eye and in any well doctored photos), the blotchiness went away...and the cursed itching began. So as of tonight, April 2nd, I am still red, but in streaks from where I have most likely poisoned myself and over extended my weekly personal budget on anti itch creams that only serve to give me mental relief that I am doing something...Atripla has thrown me another curve ball. When can we just live in peace? I will let it flow through my veins uncursed and it can happily do whatever it's supposed to do to my viral guests as they throw spring slumber parties in my cells, and we all live as one big happy, co-existing bio-family?

I have scoured the net as much as I have tried not to scour my skin, and I can't find anyone's blogs or forums on when the Atripla itch will subside.

I will gain 50 lbs or cause my city to go into a water shortage, because it seems the only time I am not itching like an over-tweaked dog with fleas, is when I am eating or in a cool shower. I am starting to wonder if some gypsy tweaker has placed a curse on me for ever looking down my nose at someone on meth and making some rude comment about them scratching at invisible bugs, because I have become that weird guy in the corner either ripping at his own clothing, or grinding his teeth trying NOT to think about how badly he wants to rip his own clothing because the itching won't stop. Even just typing this right now, I think I have yelled out loud several times. Oh well, I will console myself with some Cocoa Puffs for dinner and surprise myself yet again when I willingly and voluntarily take my nightly dose of Atripla and hope I wake up tomorrow within 10 hours in time to make it only being within 1 to 2 hours late of wherever I need to be in the morning.

I just thought I'd share in the hopes it'd make me feel better or someone else feel better....or if someone could please lie to me and tell me the Atripla itch goes away like magic on a particular day. Thanks.

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: just started atripla
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2009, 01:25:45 PM »
AZblatino: From your name I assume you are part African-American? It's been found that some HIV meds (Sustiva being one, which as you know is part of Atripla) are metabolized slightly differently among African-Americans (than among Whites). You might want to start a thread asking others of your ethnicity what their experience has been with Sustiva. I found this from thebody.com:

Recently, much attention has also been paid to the HIV medication Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) -- a drug well known among HIVers for its tendency to cause sleeping problems and wild dreams. (Sustiva is also one of the medications included in the once daily combination drug of Atripla [efavirenz, tenofovir, FTC].) For most people, these side effects (if they occur at all) tend be mild and don't last more than a few weeks. In other people -- particularly African Americans -- Sustiva side effects appear to be stronger and last longer.

Researchers think that differences in metabolism explain why African Americans may be more likely to have more intense side effects from Sustiva. "With Sustiva, African-Americans tend to be over-represented in the slow-metabolizer group -- and that's the group who have the drug accumulating in their bodies, and so they get the central nervous system side effects and the nightmares and all that," Dr. Cargill says.

Dr. Tebas points out, however, that this doesn't happen for all African Americans -- or even for most of them. "As a group, African Americans tend to metabolize Sustiva a little slower. But studies suggest that this is so in only 20 percent of black people," he explains. "So obviously there's no way of knowing when initiating therapy whether one patient will be a slow-metabolizer or not."



Whatever you do don't just stop taking it until you've discussed it with your doctor. You can always switch to something else but you should have that something else ready to switch to immediately, rather than stopping Atripla with nothing to take instead or you could develop unnecessary resistances which in the long run could be worse than what you're experiencing currently.

Hang in there!
« Last Edit: April 03, 2009, 01:28:56 PM by Inchlingblue »


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