Coping with side-effects
The risk of side-effects might be something you consider when deciding whether or not to take a certain treatment. If you are ill, or at risk of becoming ill, the benefits of the treatment may well be clear-cut and far outweigh the risk of side-effects. It's also worth remembering that side-effects are often mild or pass over time, or can be avoided or controlled with other drugs - in many cases the fear of side-effects is much worse than the reality.
If you have decided it is worthwhile taking a treatment and you do develop side-effects, it’s important to establish which drug is causing the problem. This can be quite tricky if you are taking HIV medication, as more than one of the drugs might have the potential to cause the side-effects you are experiencing.
Talk about problems you are experiencing with side-effects with your doctor. Don’t stop taking treatments without seeking medical advice.
Taking other medicines, such as painkillers, or anti-sickness or anti-diarrhoea medication, can help control side-effects.
If it’s known that a particular anti-HIV drug is causing side-effects, then there’s a good chance, particularly if you’ve never taken anti-HIV drugs before, that you will be able to switch to a drug that doesn’t cause the side-effects you are experiencing.