How Do You Know If The Drugs Are Working
After you’ve started taking drugs for HIV, your provider will look at how much HIV virus is in your bloodstream to see how well the drug therapy is working. If the drugs are working, your viral load goes down. You will have less of the virus in your bloodstream. A very important goal of treatment is to reduce the viral load to below the level that can be counted by laboratory tests, and to keep it there. This sometimes is called an “undetectable” level of HIV.
Other ways you and your provider can see if the drugs are working are:
- Your CD4 count. This number should stay the same or go up if your drugs are working.
- Your health checkups. Your treatment should help keep you healthy and help you fight off infections and diseases.
Start Treatment As Soon As Possible After Diagnosis
- HIV medicine is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are.
- Talk to your health care provider about any medical conditions you may have or any other medicines you are taking.
- Let your health care provider know if you or your partner is pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. They will determine the right type of HIV medicine that can help prevent transmitting HIV to your baby.
What if I delay treatment?
- HIV will continue to harm your immune system.
- This will put you at higher risk for developing AIDS. Learn more about AIDS and opportunistic infections.
- This will put you at higher risk for transmitting HIV to your sexual and injection partners.
What are the benefits of taking my HIV medicine every day as prescribed?
Multiclass Combination Drugs Or Single
The following combination drugs include both NRTIs and NNRTIs:
- doravirine, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- efavirenz, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- efavirenz, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- · efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
- emtricitabine, rilpivirine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
Symfi and Symfi Lo are made up of the same generic medications. However, Symfi Lo contains a smaller dose of efavirenz.
The following combination drugs include NRTIs, an INSTI, and the CYP3A inhibitor cobicistat:
- elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate
- elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
The following combination drugs include at least oneNRTI and an INSTI:
- abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine
- bictegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
- dolutegravir and lamivudine
The following combination drug includes an NNRTI and an INSTI:
- dolutegravir and rilpivirine
The following combination drug includes NRTIs,a PI, and the CYP3A inhibitor cobicistat:
- darunavir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate
Many HIV drugs can cause temporary side effects when first used. In general, these effects can include:
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What Are Drug Interactions
Your HIV medications can be affected by other medicines, including other prescription drugs you are taking and drugs you buy over the counter at a pharmacy. Even herbal therapies, nutritional supplements, and some things found in common foods can affect your HIV medicines.
When one drug affects how another drug behaves, this is called a drug-drug interaction. For example, some drugs become less effective or cause side effects when they are taken with certain other drugs.
When something in food affects how a drug behaves, it is called a drug-food interaction. For example, grapefruit juice, taken at the same time as certain drugs, can boost the amount of these drugs in your bloodstream to an undesirable level. Everyone taking HIV drugs needs to be very careful about these interactions. Luckily, many of these interactions are well known to your provider and can be managed.
Your provider can give you a list of drugs and foods to avoid, depending on what treatment you are taking. Ask for this information for each drug that you are taking.
Also, be sure that you tell your provider about every single medication, drug, supplement, and herb you are taking–whether you got them by prescription or not.
How Hiv Medications Work
HIV medications primarily work by stopping the virus from replicating.
The virus targets the immune system by invading and destroying white blood cells called CD4 cells. These play an important role in fighting infections and keeping the body healthy.
After invading a white blood cell, the virus uses the cell to replicate itself. This allows HIV to multiply within the body. Over time, the immune system loses strength and is less able to fight off infections and disease.
Antiretroviral drugs stop the virus from replicating. This helps protect the immune system and prevent disease. When a person takes antiretroviral therapy effectively, the virus usually reaches undetectable levels in 36 months.
Due to modern advances in antiretroviral therapy, HIV-related complications, such as opportunistic infections , are less common. Increasing numbers of people never develop stage 3 HIV infection, also known as AIDS.
Modern antiretroviral therapy has made it possible for people with HIV to have life spans similar to those of people without the infection.
recommend that all people with HIV take antiretroviral therapy, regardless of how long they have had the virus and their current health.
Healthcare providers work with people to find an HIV regimen that best meets their needs.
As part of this process, a doctor may recommend drug-resistance testing. This identifies medications that may not be effective in treating a persons HIV.
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Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy
In 1996, highly active antiretroviral therapy was introduced for people with HIV and AIDS. HAART â often referred to as the anti-HIV “cocktail” â is a combination of three or more drugs, such as protease inhibitors and other anti-retroviral medications. The treatment is highly effective in slowing the rate at which the HIV virus replicates itself, which may slow the spread of HIV in the body. The goal of HAART is to reduce the amount of virus in your body, or the viral load, to a level that can no longer be detected with blood tests.
Should You Ever Switch The Drugs You’re Taking
You should never change the drug plan you’re on without talking with your provider. This is a very important decision and one that must be made with your provider.
There are a few reasons that your provider may suggest you change your medicines. There may be a fixed-dose combination pill that could simplify your therapy. Or your treatment may not be working well enough and you may need different medicines. Or you may have side effects that are bothering you, or lab tests that show signs of ill effects from the HIV drugs .
Before changing medicines, you and your provider should talk about:
- All the HIV drugs you have taken before and the ones you haven’t taken
- Any drug resistance your HIV virus may have
- Possible side effects of the new medicines
- How well you will be able to follow the new drug treatment plan
Always be sure to talk with your provider about any changes in your drug treatment.
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Remission And The Chance Of Recurrence
A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called having no evidence of disease or NED.
A remission may be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty causes many people to worry that the cancer will come back. While many remissions are permanent, it is important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.
If the cancer returns after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer. It may come back in the same place , nearby , or in another place .
When this occurs, a new cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence. After this testing is done, you and your doctor will talk about the treatment options. Often the treatment plan will include the treatments described above, but they may be used in a different combination or given at a different pace. Your doctor may suggest clinical trials that are studying new ways to treat the specific type of recurrent cancer. Whichever treatment plan you choose, palliative care will be important for relieving symptoms and side effects.
Hepatitis B Treatment Outcomes
Effective hepatitis B treatment suppresses hepatitis B virus reproduction, and reducing hepatitis B viral load can reduce inflammation and bring liver enzyme levels back to normal. Less often, treatment can lead to loss of hepatitis B antigens and promote production of antibodies .
The most effective antiviral drugs usually produce low or undetectable hepatitis B viral load in most people who receive treatment. However, people with HBeAg-negative hepatitis B are more likely to respond to treatment. For example, one study found that among HIV-negative people treated with tenofovir, around 95% of HBeAg-negative people and 75% of HBeAg-positive people had undetectable hepatitis B virus DNA after one year. A majority of both groups still had hepatitis B suppression after eight years on treatment.
Most people taking antivirals alone do not experience hepatitis B antigen loss or seroconversion. Pegylated interferon strengthens the immune response against hepatitis B, but usually does not lead to a cure. Some studies show that adding pegylated interferon to antivirals increases the likelihood of these outcomes. For people with co-infection, seroconversion appears to be more likely if they are also on HIV treatment.
There is currently no treatment that cures a majority of people with hepatitis B. Researchers are working on new types of treatment including direct-acting antivirals that attack different steps of the hepatitis B lifecycle and drugs that improve immune response.
Can The Cost Be Reduced
“Gene therapies are astonishingly expensive.”
As mentioned above, although genetic medicine shows enormous promise, the complexity and expense of its techniques means that at present it is unlikely to benefit most people who really need it.
Hans-Peter Kiem said that currently about 60 million people have conditions that could benefit from gene therapy. The vast majority of these either have HIV or haemoglobinopathies blood-malformation diseases such as sickle-cell anaemia and thalassaemia that are also concentrated in the lower-income world .
Dr Jennifer Adair, one of the first researchers to have proposed collaboration on gene therapies for HIV with African institutes, said that gene therapies have already been licensed for conditions such as thalassaemia, spinal muscular atrophy, T-cell lymphoma and a form of early-onset blindness.
But they are astonishingly expensive. The worlds most expensive drug tag goes, depending on which source you read, either to Zynteglo, a genetic medicine correcting malformed beta-haemoglobin and licensed in the US for thalassaemia, or Zolgensma, a drug licensed in Europe and given to children to correct the defective gene that results in spinal muscular atrophy.
Both cost about £1.8 million for a single dose. The price is not just due to the cost of the complex engineering used to make them, but because they are used to treat rare diseases and so have a small market.
Talk To A Healthcare Provider
Theres no cure for HIV yet, but prescription medications can help slow the progression of the virus. Drugs can also improve HIV symptoms and make living with the condition more comfortable.
This medication list is a brief overview of the types of drugs that are available to treat HIV. Talk to a healthcare provider about all of these options. They can help you determine your best treatment plan.
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What Hiv Medicines Are Included In An Hiv Regimen
There are many HIV medicines available for HIV regimens. The HIV medicines are grouped into seven drug classes according to how they fight HIV.
The choice of an HIV regimen depends on a person’s individual needs. When choosing an HIV regimen, people with HIV and their health care providers consider many factors, including possible side effects of HIV medicines and potential drug interactions.
When Should You Start Hiv Treatment
Treatment guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that a person living with HIV begin ART as soon as possible after diagnosis. Starting ART slows the progression of HIV and can keep you healthy for many years.
If you delay treatment, the virus will continue to harm your immune system and put you at higher risk for developing opportunistic infections that can be life threatening.
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Why Choose A Specialized Medicaid Plan
SelectHealth is dedicated to serving people with complex health needs. We assign every member a care coordinator who supports their needs.
SelectHealth also has the highest viral load suppression rate among similar plans in New York. We celebrate our dedicated healthcare providers and amazing members for working together to end the HIV epidemic.
*2020 NYS Department of Healths eQARR
Is It Hard To Take These Drugs
The HIV medicines that currently are recommended are usually very simple and easy to take. Several drug combinations are available that package 3 separate medicines into only 1 pill, taken once a day, with minimal side effects.
For the great majority of people, HIV medicines are tolerable and effective, and let people with HIV live long and healthy lives. For some people, the drugs may be difficult to take every day, and for a small number, they cause serious side effects or don’t work well.
Once patients are on medications, they must work with their health care providers to find solutions for side effects and monitor how well the drugs are working.
The good news is that there are many excellent HIV medicines. Finding the right combination of medicines for each person is usually possible–a combination that controls the virus but does not cause side effects.
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Hiv Treatment Options: Hiv Medications And Drug Classes
The following tables list the main classes and groups of FDA-approved medications used to treat HIV in the U.S., with a brief description of the drug class. New options are frequently approved.
Drugs and combinations are identified by generic and brand names, as well as common abbreviations.
Follow the links to access up-to-date drug information such as dosing, side effects, drug interactions and pill pictures for each agent and drug class.
Questions To Ask About Each Drug
One of the most important things you can do to make sure you take your medicine correctly is to talk with your medical provider about your lifestyle, such as your sleeping and eating schedule. If your provider prescribes a drug, be sure and ask the following questions :
- What dose of the drug should be taken? How many pills does this mean?
- How often should the drug be taken?
- Does it matter if it is taken with food, or on an empty stomach?
- Does the drug have to be kept in a refrigerator?
- What are the possible side effects of the drug?
- What should be done to deal with the side effects?
- How severe do side effects have to be before a provider is called?
During every medical visit you should talk about whether you are having trouble staying on your treatment plan. Studies show that people who take their medicine in the right way get the best results: their viral loads stay down, their CD4 counts stay up, and they feel healthier.
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What Else Do I Need To Know About Taking Hiv/aids Medicines
It’s important to take your medicines every day, according to the instructions from your health care provider. If you miss doses or don’t follow a regular schedule, your treatment may not work, and the HIV virus may become resistant to the medicines.
HIV medicines can cause side effects. Most of these side effects are manageable, but a few can be serious. Tell your health care provider about any side effects that you are having. Don’t stop taking your medicine without first talking to your provider. He or she may give you tips on how to deal with the side effects. In some cases, your provider may decide to change your medicines.
If Treatment Does Not Work
Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for many people, advanced cancer is difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
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