The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Medications are given to treat HIV infection and decrease the amount of virus in the body. As research continues, new drugs become available. It is extremely important to take the medications exactly as prescribed, even if the drug regimen is complicated or difficult to follow. Work with your doctor to develop a plan of treatment that can best fit your needs. This plan may change as new treatments become available.
Drugs are typically prescribed in combination. Treatment with a combination of drugs is referred to as "highly active antiretroviral therapy" (HAART). Doctors attribute longer survival and improved health in people with HIV infection to the use of HAART.
Additional drugs may be ordered to treat associated infections or cancers.
CCR5 inhibitors interfere with HIV attachment to certain receptors on cells in the body, slowing the spread of HIV.
Possible side effects include:
Drugs to Treat or Prevent Opportunistic Infections
Common names include:
Drugs may be given to prevent or treat HIV-related infections. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX) and pentamidine (NebuPent) may be ordered when the number of infection-fighting cells in your immune system falls to a certain level. These drugs are given to prevent
from recurring. Foscarnet (Foscavir) and ganciclovir (Cytovene) may be used to treat
Possible side effects depend on the drugs prescribed. They include:
Rash and itching are associated with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX).
Decreased blood pressure, rash, and
are associated with pentamidine (NebuPent).
Kidney problems, changes in blood counts, and
are associated with foscarnet (Foscavir).
Drugs do not cure HIV infection or AIDS. They are given to suppress the virus. If you are HIV-positive, but do not have symptoms of AIDS, the doctor may recommend delaying the start of medication therapy until the time is right.
Whenever you are taking medication, take the following precautions:
Take your medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
Do not stop taking them without talking to your doctor.
Do not share them.
Know what the results and side effects. Report them to your doctor.
Some drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one drug. This includes over-the-counter medication and herb or dietary supplements.
Plan ahead for refills so you don’t run out.
When to Contact Your doctor
Call your doctor if symptoms worsen, new symptoms develop or you experience side effects. Due to the potential for adverse reactions to these drugs, it is important to visit your doctor regularly. Blood tests will likely be ordered before starting and during treatment, depending on your situation.
HIV/AIDS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
. Updated September 2008. Accessed September 25, 2008.
HIV/AIDS. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at:
. Accessed September 25, 2008.
Noble J, Greene HL.
Textbook of Primary Care Medicine
. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc; 2000.
United States Pharmacopeial Convention.
21st ed. Englewood, CO: Micromedex; 2001.
2/21/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Mallal S, Phillips E, Carosi G, et al. HLA-B5701 screening for hypersensitivity to abacavir.
N Engl J Med.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a