Monday, March 30, 2009

Side effects

I'd like to ask for your thoughts on side effects from medication used to treat HIV. I hear that some side effects can be very difficult to handle and I want to hear of your experiences or thoughts on the subject.

My husband is on Viramune and Combivir. His side effects include headaches, constipation, and psoriasis.

I feel fortunate that he doesn't suffer from any intense effects but I know there are others out there who deal with major side effect issues.

Please post in the comment section.


Anonymous said...

Hi. It is me again. I am responding to the side effects this time because I have read numerous times how the HIV medications can cause serious side effects with moods swings and depression. As I said before the depression is as if it is my boyfriends mistress. He has been holed up with her for three weeks now, this is the first time I have gone through this again after three an a half months of beautiful happiness. Our twice a week dates have been scaled back to none and our taking the moring commute together at least now seems to be on hold. Other than going to work for the last two weeks after one whole week off (due to the depression) I have been the only person he has spent time with. Normally he isolates most of the time but not this severely. I can not tell if he is unsure about us even though he loves me and says so, or scared, or just wants to get away from the whole world.
The other side effects are low testerone, stomach troubles, lack of appetie, very thin, very little muscle mass, and brown rash on his feet from where he scrathed and spots remained. He also smokes marijuana which I think actually helps his appetite so I have not ever tried to discourage him about it. He has a lot to deal with.
IT is hard for me to know if these are caused by the medications or if he just has some mental illness as he says, which has never been diagnosed. All I know is what I have to deal with and its difficult. I love him and he is a good person. It is so hard to go through the waiting for him to recover though. Our joke is that he is up in his tower (his apt. 3rd floor) and he is like Rapunzel. I am like the prince, waiting for Rapunzel to let down her hair again. When he comes out I say "Man, I sure am glad you let down your hair!"
I hope you find a solution to be able to have a baby. I am wishing you luck.

LookingUp said...

With the stigma attached to the disease, I imagine many people with HIV struggle with depression. I imagine many have pasts to confront, medical issues, job/financial problems plus the big "secret" to walk around this earth carrying on their shoulders. Regardless of HIV status, many people suffer from depression and anxiety. Its widespread. Managing life can be hard, especially with chronic disease! And anti-deppressants may be needed balance the endorphins necessary to function. My pos fiance doesn't suffer from depression, but he does have anxiety every now and then about his job, money, relationships, addictions. The best you can do is be supportive and loving. Gently nudge him to take care of himself so that he feels better - medication and appointments, exercise, eating right, relax time and spending time outside and with others. Ask him to speak to his doctor about it too. It will get better!

bklyngal said...

Hi Poprock,

Thanks for poating my comment. I did not even realize you had. I came back on here because I could use some support.

My boyfriend finally is letting me back into his life after a few days of not even calling. I was so distraught from that I told him that was unacceptable. I think he realizes that hurt our relationship. He is still not going out and even missed more work but atleast he is reaching out to me. He has not been out in two weeks other than work or to get food, do laundry, pharmacy (have to stuff). He lost weight cause he forgets to eat.
He is not willing to try and go get any counseling or anything right now so I guess he will just have to figure his way out of this.
He did say he thinks our relationship can grow which is good. It is difficult for me sometimes because he did not want a relationship. He was fine with being alone. I introduced myself and one thing lead to another and he loves me so now after ten years alone. When he does something hurtful towards me all he can refer it to is " I hurt her, now I feel bad." I think our friendship holds us together, then we have to try and work out the rest sometimes as we go along.

I appreciate the support. I am trying to do the best that I can
in this situation.


Anonymous said...

HI. I wrote in the post under anonymous awhile back. I have been reasearching this depression more and I knew my boyfriend had cognitive damage, he has trouble with remembering conversations sometimes, planning when we'll get together for instance, decisions, switching gears, attentional abilites, all those fall under cognitive impairment. He is higly intelligent and works in the computer coding field. However he suffers from severe depression which from this artivcle I read on the orginates from the HAARY medications. It is from a discussion with Igor Grant where he states that" Patients on effective HAART still ultimatley develop neurocognitive impairment, study finds." Igor Grant also brings up the Nadir CD4, which refers to " the lowest CD4 that a person experienced at some point."
My boyfriend is a 26 years survior of HIV. He had full blown AIDS and nearly died about eleven years ago, his CD4 was about 250 if I remember correctly from what he told me. He only survived because the medicine improved. Originally he contracted HIV at 17 from blood transufusions because he is a hempohiliac. Currently his Cd4 is at between 600-650.
So no wonder I felt I could accept the HIV, the mental illness and depression is so difficult. It is the hardest piece for him and for me to deal with. He keeps me at a distance all the more when he is severly depressed, which is fairly often. It is a struggle and now that I realize that the medicine and HIV is causing it I feel sort of helpless about it, proabably how he feels. I do not know for sure if he knows about all this, if his doctor discussed it with him, he is not very open about his depression with doctors. He thinks it is a weakness to ask for help and no wonder the antidepressants seem to help so little when he is faced with a huge obstacle to deal with. I am sure the reluctance to ask for help comes from the hemophilia and struggling with over protective parents as a child.
Well there is not much I can do other than be supportive and see how all this goes. I am going to try and discuss what I read with him and see how that goes. Thanks for allowing me to share this journey with you. This is something I feel powerless over.