l With four anti-HIV drugs, a small number of people have an allergic reaction
in the first days or weeks of taking them.
l The most common symptom is a rash, but your doctor will give you
more detailed information about what to look out for. If you have these
symptoms, it’s essential to get medical help urgently.
The four drugs are:
l nevirapine (Viramune). Fewer than one in 50 people have an allergic
l etravirine (Intelence). Around one in 100 people have an allergic reaction.
l abacavir (Ziagen, Kivexa, Trizivir). Before starting this drug, you will be
genetically tested to see if you are at risk. When the test says it’s OK to take
the drug, fewer than one in 100 have an allergic reaction.
l raltegravir (Isentress). Fewer than one in 50 people have an allergic reaction.
As well as
may also affect
your body in
Any extra or
are called ‘side
l The most common
side effects are short
term, and can often
be managed with
l Long-term side effects
are less common.
l If side effects are
causing you problems,
talk to your doctor
about them. It may
be possible to change
Short-term side effects
The most common side effects are the result of your body getting used to a new drug. After a few weeks, these side effects usually go away.
You can often take other medicines to limit these side effects. A few people find that these side effects don’t go away.
If this is the case, you can talk to your doctor about changing your treatment.
l Diarrhoea l Feeling sick l Feeling tired l Disturbed sleep
Long-term side effects
l Make sure your clinic does regular tests on
your liver, kidneys and bones to check that
everything is OK.
l There should also be tests for your
cholesterol and glucose. Raised levels
could mean you are at higher risk of heart
disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or
l Changes to your
body shape (losing
or gaining fat in
specific places) are
less common than in
the past. Doctors now
try to avoid using the
drugs that cause
Side effects that have long-term consequences for your health are less common.
If there is a problem, it may be worth making changes to your lifestyle, taking an extra treatment or changing your HIV treatment.