Changing treatment due to side-effects

Side-effects are the main reason why people change drugs in their first anti-HIV combination.

Although you may have a good viral load response after starting HIV treatment, you may find the side-effects of some drugs hard to live with. Changing treatment is an option if side-effects don’t go away or cannot be controlled. If your viral load is undetectable, the only drug you will need to change is the one causing the side-effects.

There is a risk with changing treatment to control side-effects that the new combination will not control your HIV as well as the old combination. It is also possible that the new drug or drugs you switch to will bring their own side-effects. Your doctor will discuss these issues with you, and how they can be dealt with.

There is a greater risk that the new combination will fail if you have lots of previous experience of treatment.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.