Dealingwithsideeffects 110914180652 Phpapp02


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Dealingwithsideeffects 110914180652 Phpapp02

  1. 1. EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO JANUARY 2010Dealing withdrug side effectsDealing with drug side effects can be challenging. Every HIV drug has its own Learn to recognize, monitor andpossible side effects as well as the drugs that prevent and treat infections. These manage side effects should they arise.effects can vary from person to person. Some people experience few or no side Often, simple solutions exist to lessen many of them. In other cases, a par-effects at all, while some have ones that are mild and manageable. For others, they ticular side effect may be an impor-may be quite severe. tant signal that requires immediate medical attention.Whenever you have symptoms, it’s Are women different?important to talk to your doctor to Women may experience a differentdiagnose the cause. But regardless of Caring for your whole self type or rate of side effects comparedhow severe or persistent the side ef- to men, including therapies not relat- Some conditions believed to be sidefects are, you can try some things to ed to HIV. Why this is is not well un- effects may actually be due to anxiety,manage them. derstood. It may be due to differences depression or stress. Caring for your in the way a woman’s body breaks whole self—your emotions, thoughtsThe key to coping down or stores drugs. Generally and general health—can help minimize speaking, women have smaller body negative feelings and their effects.The key to coping with side effects is weight/sizes than men. It may be that, There are some things you can doknowing what to watch out for and for their weight, some women take that may make the adjustment periodhaving a plan in place to respond if too high a dose of drug. This could easier. If possible, take some time offthey occur. If a drug you’re taking or also be an issue for men with small work or lighten your schedule to giveare planning to take has a side ef- frames. Women’s hormones may also you time to adjust to the change. Iffect that may be life-threatening, it’s affect drugs. Or it may be due to other things get hard, see if someone canimportant to know what these early unknown differences. help out around the house or withsymptoms are and to monitor for children or other obligations.them. It’s also possible to prevent or Take time to re-prioritize yourreduce some side effects by taking What to look for? health needs, and make sure you eatcertain preventive therapies a few Many people experience an adjust- well and get plenty of sleep and rest.days before or at the same time as ment period when starting a new Try to get a little exercise during thestarting a new regimen. therapy. This usually lasts about 4–6 day—even if just taking a walk. Before starting any therapy, talk to weeks as your body adapts to the Most importantly, reach out foryour doctor or pharmacist about the new drug. During this time, you may support—be it your family, friends orrisk of side effects. This information experience headache, nausea, muscle support group. If you can, let themusually comes from studies conducted pain and occasional dizziness. These know what’s going on. Sometimes juston the drug. Ask how often side ef- kinds of side effects typically lessen or talking helps, but they may also havefects were reported. disappear as your body adjusts. ideas to help ease your side effects. © PROJECT INFORM 1375 MISSION STREET SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-2621 415-558-8669 WWW.PROJECTINFORM.ORG
  2. 2. EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO2 JANUARY 2010Dealing with drug side effectsA word about switching fatigued, ask yourself: how long? Are there activities that are difficultSometimes people facing serious side today that weren’t a problem a few as they may make it worse.effects will switch drugs simply to im- months ago? Are you having troubleprove their quality of life, even though sleeping or sleeping more than nor-they were controlling HIV well. This Peripheral mal? Provide your doctor with thisis one way to deal with side effects. Neuropathy information. Switching a drug solely because of Peripheral neuropathyside effects may also save that drug TIPS FOR FATIGUE is caused by damage toas a future treatment option. In fact, nerves, symptoms ofside effects that you have with a drug the same time every day. Changes in which include burning, stinging, stiff-at one time may not occur again if or your sleep schedule can actually make ness, tickling or numbness in the feet,when you try that drug again. you feel tired. toes or hands. These can be mild or However, it’s dangerous to simply severe enough to prevent walking. Pe-stop taking one drug in your regi- eases stress and makes you feel stron- ripheral neuropathy can be caused bymen, reduce its dose without talking ger and alive. HIV itself or as a side effect of someto your doctor or pharmacist, or only HIV-related drugs.take it every now and then. This can for times you’re too tired to cook. Treatment usually involves stop-lead to drug resistance, making that ping or decreasing the offendingdrug—and perhaps others—less use- Rash drug(s). However, no drug can reverseful for you now or in the future. nerve damage. If neuropathy is severe, Rash seems to occur it’s a good idea to consult a doctor slightly more oftenFatigue among women taking that specializes in pain management.It’s not unusual to feel certain HIV drugs than TIPS FOR PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHYtired, especially when men, like Viramune (nevirapine) andlife is hectic. A sense of Viracept (nelfinavir). Of note, women cotton socks, and padded slipperstiredness that doesn’t go appear more prone to severe rash as around the house. Good air circula-away with rest is a problem. If ignored, well. It’s important to check your skin tion around the feet helps.fatigue can worsen. for discoloration and changes in its Symptoms can be physical—like it’s surface, especially after starting a newdifficult to getting out of bed or walk medicine. feet (a good thing), but too much canup stairs. They can also be psycholog- make the problem worse. TIPS FOR RASHical—like having a hard time concen-trating. Fatigue is also a symptom of pain. hand to soothe and comfort skin.another drug side effect—anemia. Getting a handle on it begins with cleansers or oatmeal soaps.acknowledging it. If you’re feeling peripheral neuropathy. TOLL-FREE NATIONAL HIV/AIDS TREATMENT HOTLINE 1-800-822-7422 LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL 415-558-9051 MONDAY–FRIDAY 10–4 PACIFIC TIME
  3. 3. EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO 3 JANUARY 2010 Dealing with drug side effectsDiarrhea Dry Mouth cloths over your eyes; massage the base of your skull with your thumbsThe biggest concern is Dry mouth is an un- and massage both temples gently;that diarrhea can cause comfortable condi- take hot baths.dehydration. So the first tion, making chewing,course of action is to replenish lost swallowing and talking difficult. It can Avoid or limit foods known to triggerliquids by drinking plenty of fluids, affect your sense of taste and can pro- them, especially caffeine (coffee, tea,like Gatorade, ginger ale, chicken mote mouth problems. soft drinks, some meds), chocolate, redor beef broth, herb tea or just plain TIPS FOR DRY MOUTH wine, citrus fruit (more than 1/2 cup awater. Chronic diarrhea may lead to day), food additives (like MSG), nuts,weight loss. Foods that provide nutri- with salted warm water. onions, hard cheese and vinegar.ents, calories, and absorb liquid (likethe BRAT diet) are good ways to deal food stores) to moisten the mouth.with diarrhea. Hair LossTIPS FOR DIARRHEA or crushed ice to cool the mouth. Most people experience hair loss as they get older, though it can hurt one’s self- slows diarrhea by absorbing liquid, between meals. confidence. Sudden or abnormal hair like oatmeal, cream of wheat, grits - loss can result from taking certain drugs. and soft bread (not whole grain). feinated drinks. TIPS FOR HAIR LOSS food stores). One study showed that practices, such as dyeing, perming, two bars eaten one hour before bed- treating dry mouth. straightening, braiding, corn-rowing, time with water can help diarrhea. using hair dryers, etc. - ber, like the skins of vegetables and Headache for some, but not all, cases of baldness. fruits. The most common cause of headache is reduce stress and anxiety. high-fiber or very sweet foods. tension. Different med- icines can also cause them. Headaches are mostly just a pain and can be eased Anemia by over-the-counter meds like aspirin, Anemia is low red blood cells. These Pepto-Bismol. acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen cells deliver oxygen throughout your sodium. They can also be helped, and body. When your body is short on ox- prevented, by reducing stress. ygen, you feel fatigued. Long-term or TIPS FOR HEADACHE severe anemia can damage your body. Most people with HIV have anemia your eyes closed; place cold wash- at some point. HIV can cause it, as do © PROJECT INFORM 1375 MISSION STREET SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-2621 415-558-8669 WWW.PROJECTINFORM.ORG
  4. 4. EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO4 JANUARY 2010Dealing with drug side effectsmany HIV drugs , like Retrovir (zido- TIPS FOR NAUSEA AND VOMITING TIPS FOR WEIGHT LOSSvudine, AZT). For women, problemswith periods can also be a cause or Applesauce, and Toast) helps. weight, work with your doctor to de-symptom of anemia. Severe anemia -requires a blood transfusion. ing, eat a few dry crackers and sit in vomiting? Started a new medicine? bed for a few minutes.TIPS FOR ANEMIA Med-Rx. Look for products high in can help calm the stomach. protein and low in sugar. iron and vitamin B-12, both of which may lower risk of anemia. Period Problems greasy foods. Period problems are common in all and lima beans are high in folic acid, women, but particularly in women another nutrient that may lower risk with broth, carbonated beverages, with weakened immune systems. of anemia. juice, Jell-O or popsicles. These include irregular, heavier, - lighter and/or painful periods or the can lower the risk of anemia. efits/risks of anti-nausea meds. end of them altogether. These can be a side effect of some meds. Excessive help correct moderate anemia. periods may also occur. It’s a good Weight Loss idea to track your periods, noting drugs that are causing the anemia. Weight loss can be a changes if they occur. serious problem in HIV TIPS FOR PERIOD PROBLEMSNausea and disease. It can resultVomiting from vomiting, nausea, dry mouth, life. Losing weight? Stressed out? anemia or fatigue.Feelings of nausea and Addressing these and other factors The signs can be obvious but arethe urge to vomit vary might help in more ways than one! not always seen as a problem. Ingreatly among people. The two symp- fact, many positive women who losetoms often occur together. Certain water bottle or a heating pad over weight due to HIV are praised andmedications used to treat HIV or its your lower stomach or back. Or take told they “look good”.related conditions can cause nausea. a hot bath. If you lose weight and it’s not be-Persistent vomiting can lead to serious cause you changed your diet or exer-medical problems, like dehydration, stretching. Exercise may increase cise, it’s never a good thing. Talking tochemical imbalances and even tearing blood flow and decrease pain. a doctor to identify its cause is criticalof the windpipe. Call your doctor or if to treating unwanted weight loss.nausea or vomiting persists. sometimes used to regulate abnormal periods. Some HIV drugs interact with the pill. TOLL-FREE NATIONAL HIV/AIDS TREATMENT HOTLINE 1-800-822-7422 LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL 415-558-9051 MONDAY–FRIDAY 10–4 PACIFIC TIME