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Side Effects of HIV and AIDS Drugs

HIV medications help many people lead longer, healthier lives. However, AIDS and HIV drug side effects are also common. These side effects range from mild to life threatening. Here is an overview of some of the common and more severe HIV drug side effects.

Common Side Effects of HIV Drugs

The following chart lists some HIV medication side effects that are more common and a few special precautions. To prevent interactions, it is important to tell your doctor about all drugs you take. Also tell your doctor right away if you have new, unusual, or long-lasting symptoms.

 

Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs)

Common Side Effects

Special Precautions

Ziagen (abacavir)

Hypersensitivity reaction

Have genetic testing done prior to therapy.

Combivir (lamivudine + zidovudine)

Anemia

 

Videx, or Videx-EC (didanosine or ddl)

Diarrhea, abdominal pain, neuropathy, nausea, vomiting, pancreatitis

Do not combine with stavudine.

Emtriva (emtricitabine)

Rash, and skin darkening of palms or soles, numbness, tingling, or burning sensation

 

Epzicom (abacavir + lamivudine)

Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, fatigue, chills, dizziness, headaches, insomnia

Bactrim or Septra may increase blood levels; do not take with stavudine.

Epivir (lamivudine)

Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, insomnia

 

Zerit, Zerit XR (stavudine, d4T)

Peripheral neuropathy, headache, chills & fever, diarrhea, nausea, fat loss in arms, legs, or face

Do not combine with AZT or didanosine.

Viread (tenofovir)

Mild nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, upset stomach

Do not use if you have kidney disease

Trizivir (abacavir + zidovudine + lamivudine)

Anemia, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, hypersensitivity reaction

Tell your doctor about all medications you're taking.

Truvada (tenofovir + emtricitabine)

Mild nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, rash, darkening of palms or soles, tingling, numbness, or burning sensation

Do not take with didanosine or lamivudine or if you have kidney disease.

Stribild (tenofovir + emtricitabine + elvitegravir) Nausea, diarrheaCan cause lactic acid buildup and severe liver problems.  

Retrovir (AZT, zidovudine)

 

Anemia, nausea, vomiting

Do not combine with stavudine.

 

Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs)

Common Side Effects

Special Precautions

Edurant (rilpivirine)

Depression, difficulty sleeping, headache, rash

 

Sustiva (efavirenz)

Vivid dreams, anxiety, rash, nausea, insomnia

 

Viramune (nevirapine)Skin rash, fever, headache, nausea, diarrhea

Liver problems.

 

 

Protease Inhibitors (PIs)Common Side EffectsSpecial Precautions

Agenerase (amprenavir)

Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rash

 

Reyataz (atazanavir)

Elevated levels of bilirubin. Nausea, headache, rash, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, changes in heart rhythm.

Effectiveness may be reduced if also taking ritonavir and Victrelis for hepatitis C.

Prezista (darunavir)

Diarrhea, nausea, headache, skin rash

Effectiveness may be reduced if also taking ritonavir and Victrelis for hepatitis C.

Lexiva (fosamprenavir)

Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, numbness around mouth, abdominal pain

 

Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir)

Diarrhea, fatigue, headache, nausea, weakness, rash, insomnia

Effectiveness may be reduced if also taking Victrelis for hepatitis C.

Viracept (nelfinavir)

Diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, weakness, rash, anemia, joint pain

 

Norvir (ritonavir)

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, taste changes, headache, dizziness, rash

 

Aptivus (tipranavir)

Elevated liver enzymes and cholesterol levels, diarrhea, rash, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fatigue, headache

 

 

Fusion Inhibitor (FI)

Common Side Effects

Special Precautions

Fuzeon (enfuvirtide)

Redness, itching, or hard lumps at injection site, insomnia, depression, diarrhea, nausea, weakness, muscle pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, flu-like symptoms

 

 

 

 

 

Entry Inhibitor

Common Side Effects

Special Precautions

Selzentry (maraviroc)

Cough, stomach pain, tiredness, dizziness when standing

 

 

 

 

 

Integrase Inhibitors

Common Side Effects

Special Precautions

Isentress (raltegravir)

Headache, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, insomnia

 

 

 

 

Tivicay (dolutegravir)

Headaches, insomnia

 

 

 

 

 

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