HIV Treatment Side Effects
The availability of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs paved the way for better HIV treatment. Since a bonafide cure is still not available, these drugs have become the best alternative to stop the further spread of the infection. They prevent viral growth throughout the body by inhibiting HIV from making more copies of itself. Additionally, these drugs prevent the emergence of HIV-related complications, especially AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Like other medications, adverse reactions are also present when taking anti-HIV drugs. Alongside the effectiveness of these drugs in controlling HIV are a variety of unwanted bodily responses. The following are HIV treatment side effects that you should consider and manage appropriately.
At the start of your treatment, expect to experience the generally known side effects when taking a new drug. These side effects are similar to other medications for other diseases. Consider the following:
Common side effects:
- Feeling tired
- Poor appetite
- Dry skin
- Skin rashes
- Dry mouth
- A general feeling of sickness
Severe side effects:
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
- Fever or chills
- Long-term nausea
- Recurrent diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual fatigue
- Rapid breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Severe headache
- Chest pain
Some HIV medications can cause hypersensitivity (allergic reaction). Abacavir and Nevirapine are some of the best examples of anti-HIV drugs that trigger severe allergic reactions. Note that any form of an allergic reaction can be fatal. For this reason, HIV-positive patients are advised to report to their healthcare professional immediately if hypersensitivity occurs.
How to control and manage HIV treatment these side effects:
Some side effects are manageable, especially at home. However, there are significant elements that you need to take into account to control and better manage these side effects. These are as follows:
- Tell your healthcare provider if you are consuming other medications – Before receiving your prescription, your healthcare professional will check on some factors. These include your age, weight, medical history, and other forms of drugs you are taking. Interactions can happen if you take another medication besides new prescription medicine. Make sure you disclose your previous and ongoing treatment to your healthcare professional.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle – During your treatment, your healthcare professional will require you to have a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
If you experience the most severe side effects of any anti-HIV drugs, report your condition to your healthcare professional immediately. Do the same if you notice some of the side effects persist longer than usual. Finally, always follow your prescription to minimize the occurrence of these side effects.