Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Atripla Dreams

Atripla Dreams

Faceless dreams come down to bare
Affect how I feel
Whether waking or asleep

Its night now
……….. Atripla dreams are almost here..........

Subconscious fears that never were

Of Course
A choice between
Living and dying
I’ll take the dreams learn to cope
Better than an AIDs death

Than denying the drugs and living with fear and no hope
Atripla Dreams

Mine for Life
But thanks to them

I have my life


For those of you who do not know what it is, Atripla is the drug I currently have to take every day to stop HIV multiplying and taking over my cells and to delay the onset of AIDs.

Although it is marketed under one name and as one drug - it is in fact a combination of three very powerful drugs.

Atripla is a fixed dose combination of 600 mg efavirenz, 300 mg tenofovir, and 200 mg emtricitabine.


All very powerful drugs that effect your body at a very fundamental level - at a basic cell level, which includes your bran function too, but they do keep you alive.

And thankfully medications have improved so much since the early days of HIV medications - my heart goes out to all those - and I now know many - who have survived HIV and the 'terrible' earlier meds - many of whom can not take a modern drug like Artipla due to drug resistance built up over many years of taking the older drugs ( which are related to or derived from the modern ones in many cases so if you have been on HIV meds for years. this can cut down your treatment options drastically and Atripla is most often only for those like me who have only recently gone on meds )

And the Atripla combination is one of the most well tolerated in terms of physical side effects i.e i get diarrhea and nausea but at a much more bearable level to what other drugs may give me .

I DO NOT want to put anyone off taking this drug - or ay other HIV ARV medication .

Atripla is comparatively well tolerated and any HIV med it is far better than getting ill with AIDs related illnesses - both me and my husband have been there - my husband more than me .
And so MUCH better than dieing of AIDs

And if you do not take HIV meds - once you get to the point you need them ...........................there is no other end game but AIDs and death !! Don't fool yourself , without the HIV ARVs that is the only end.... with them you can live a healthy and relatively 'normal' life

MY message - if you have HIV - take the meds!!

And Atripla is one of the best meds we have and one of the best tolerated - but what you take is down to your medical advisers always.

But for many one of the combination's of the drugs in Atripla can give you amazing, weird and for some, frightening dreams .

It is this I wanted to write about in my poem above

Some this is so bad they can not take them at all. And have to go on less effective HIV meds.

For me the dreams are weird not frightening and while they certainly affect my waking and sleeping life - they are not usually frightening and for me it is not every night I get them .

I get them more if I drink alcohol and sadly I DO drink alcohol - if you have HIV and can manage not to drink and smoke like I do it will be better health wise

But I do not do this blog to pretend I do it all right - This is about me - WARTs and all , living with HIV !!

I can tolerate this as I prefer this to having more physical side effects that some other HIV meds may bring.

But NEVER underestimate if you do not have HIV the effect that living with HIV and taking the meds can bring.

Those of us who have HIV it is too late and unless we are in denial of taking the meds we take what we can and need to stay alive and to continue our life.

And surprisingly as it might seem from the outside may of us have very good and productive lives

But it can be an added burden to live with theses dreams - even if only intermittently in my case - that a drug like Atripla can bring.

Or living with other side effects if you are on different HIV meds, as all affect your body and mind at the deepest level

None of your life if you have HIV will ever be normal - so the best I can offer
Is never get HIV - always protect yourself if you possibly can!

But at least with the drugs you will have a life - and often a very good one



Winegirl said...

just been looking up the vivid dreams side effects of Atripla - looks like it is one of the saide effects that some times stays a long time, but looking at the list of possible side effects not the worst to have?? Hope other then the dreams your sleep is ok and you are not being woken up by them??

Veritee said...

Oh Yes winegirl

I am not really bothered about them most of the time as for me that are intermittent and sometimes quite entertaining.

There are much worse side effect I agree - however I do have a few others not as easy for me to deal with!!

I guess I posted it as I was trying poetry - and I am NOT a poet - as a way of describing some of the things abotu living with HIV

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Anonymous said...

you seem to have a lot of experience with the atripla thing. I recently tried to start my meds but i had some crazy side effects to atripla to the point that i couldnt eat properly and slept for 4 days because i had light sensitivity. but anyway my question is is it possible for me to get a refund on my pills. I have 26 of them with me and my doc told me to stop taking the meds.

Veritee said...

Dear Anonymous

I know you did not ask me this, but I really do not think you gave Aripla long enough!

It does take 2 to 4 weeks but after that most tolerate it well.

Many people get the symptoms you describe ( and more) in the first 2 to 4 weeks of taking Atripla, but for the majority theses side effects settle down as to not bother you at all - well not enough not to take them as the advantages of being able to take Atripla outweighs the disadvantages.

As Atripla is a first line HIV med which means that if eventually you become resistant, to this combination of ARVs you have lots of other combination's you can take in the future.

( and resistance after a few years on any HIV medication even if you take it properly and never miss one tablet is usual after a few years on any combination as the HIV virus mutates so easily and get resistant to the drugs you take over time)

Also while the dreams can be vivid for most they settle down to not be a problem - I wrote the poem about them but I do not in fact find the dreams unpleasant I just wanted to show how HIV medications, even well tolerated ones like Atripa can affect you in unexpected ways - and the other side effects usualy go.

In fact Artipla is one of the most well tolerated HIV ARVs there is. My husband does not even get the dreams - and the least likely to damage other organs such as your heart, liver, kidneys etc.

Also it is one tablet a day wich is so much easier than al the rest!

As to getting a refund on your tablets, I really can not say , I would have thought so!

However I live in the UK where we have a state run National Health System ( NHS) and ALL our HIV drugs are free!! As is all our treatment !!

If we have any drugs left over we dont want as they are free to us we just retun them.

My heart goes out to those with HIV who have the additional burdon that on top of suffering this you have to find money to pay for your own treatment, blood tests and drugs as well.

All I can say is if you live in the US support Obamas health bill as in the UK we have had this kind of health system for years and while it is not perfect ( nothing ever is) it works well and no one has to pay for treatment or medications and goes without the treatment they need regardless of their finances.

If you live elsewhere I just do not know , all I can say is push for free heath care and medications.

Sorry I could not be of more help

All the best


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say... Thank you for the post. I live in the uk.. and have been on Atripla for about 7 months now. I do dream sometimes... And yes its worse if I drink. But... Sometimes.. well... More recently I have been thinking of just stopping... I miss the days when I was healthy: not having to worry about taking medication. As it is... Atripla seems to be working tho... My cd4 count is 826 and my viral load is undetectaBle. I don't get many other side effects. Sometimes a bit tired... Or dizzy.. but I guess its bearable. Still... Sending love. It's my first time on medication

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say... Thank you for the post. I live in the uk.. and have been on Atripla for about 7 months now. I do dream sometimes... And yes its worse if I drink. But... Sometimes.. well... More recently I have been thinking of just stopping... I miss the days when I was healthy: not having to worry about taking medication. As it is... Atripla seems to be working tho... My cd4 count is 826 and my viral load is undetectaBle. I don't get many other side effects. Sometimes a bit tired... Or dizzy.. but I guess its bearable. Still... Sending love. It's my first time on medication

Anonymous said...

the worst is the hangover effect from getting out of bed

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Veritee said...

Thank you so much for your contribution Anonymous above, and sharing a little of your story.

Yes I so agree, take your meds they are a lifesaver!!!

Now a few years after I wrote this in November 2009 still get the dreams but only VERY occassionally and they never really bothered me anyway as I quite enjoyed them!

The diarrhea that I still have is fro me a side effect of the meds not any infection. I am told by my doctor that some just react this way to this combination of HAART, but it is not enough of a problem to stop me taking Atripla as it works so well to keep my viruis in check.

However my husband got diarrhea at first but does not now and his was infection.

As like you his CD4 count was very low, his was 8, and he was also close to death.

I know what you mean when you describe this, such easy words to read on a page isnt it 'close to death'?

But I nursed my husband through this when he was dying of AIDS. It is all documented in the early posts on this blog, I watched him get weeker and nearly die before we got any explaination or help.
It was really scary and at a time when while my CD4 was never as low as his they were in the 70s and 80s and I was not at all well myself.
Terrible times.

Some have forgotton how HIV was a killer before modern medication.

I will never forget and will keep reminding people because without the meds so many of us would not have survived .

Thank you. xxxx

flywme101 said...

Wow, the posts above resonate with me very much. I've been on atripla for about three years now and I agree about the vivid dreams, the hungover feeling. So many other side effects too like going to work and feeling not quite yourself. I used to feel inteligent and competent and very confident. Takes a couple of hours for that feeling to wear off. I'm not a smoker or drinker, also a tip for all, I take it after dinner making sure to give myself at least 3 good hours before I take the pill at bet time. This way my tummy is happy and the side effects are not as bad.

Also I have a question for all. Has any one ever woke up in the middle of the night and found that the atripla was making you extra horny? Like feeling like a nympho maniac horny? Like wanting something so bad I felt like I was in heat? Does that sound like something you've been through? It's crazy cause I will do anything in this state? It's kinda dangerous.

flywme101 said...