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Thursday, November 30, 2006


posted by on November 30 at 9:54 AM

One of the largest-ever studies of HIV treatment has found that patients who temporarily stop taking their powerful medicines more than double their risk of dying.

Many HIV patients have sought doctors’ permission to periodically take a break from the tiresome regimen of AIDS-fighting drugs, which can cause incapacitating side effects. Several small studies have suggested ”holidays” from medication might be OK for patients who appear to be doing well.

But the new study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests such a strategy can be dangerous: The rate of disease progression or death was more than twice as high in patients who took medications intermittently than in those who took them every day.

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I thought taking breaks from HIV/AIDS drugs was unthinkable because it can lead to the development of drug resistant strains of the virus.

Posted by Jude Fawley | November 30, 2006 11:20 AM

So, basically, you're telling us that stupidity kills?

Hmmm. Sounds like the Darwin awards in action.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 30, 2006 11:41 AM

Yeah, I've always defined stupidity as wanting a break from ravaging side effects.

Posted by We're very fliip, aren't we? | November 30, 2006 1:33 PM

That's fucked up.

I hear a lot of anecdotal reports about how hard-core those drugs are, and a lot of people seem to just keel over after protracted use of the cocktail. I'm thinking of, for example, Richard Waugh of Wigglyworld, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack while using the cocktail.

Honestly, I've had kind of a hard time trusting these things since doctors and corporations started doing dosage testing on late-stage AIDS patients in the 1980s.

Otherhow, I don't suppose anyone has a right to criticize who hasn't actually had to take the cocktail themselves.

Posted by Joshua | November 30, 2006 3:58 PM

As someone who has been on various versions of "the cocktail" (a phrase which I find ridiculous, twee, and offensive)since the days of AZT or nothing, I've learned that you have to go with the best option available at the time. Treatment options are constantly evolving, some drug combinations are perfectly fine for some people, and cause unbearable side effects in others. So it's always a case of trial and error until you find something that -- you hope -- works for you until something better comes along.

Will in Seattle -- nice oversimplification, you douche.

Posted by Mark Mitchell | December 1, 2006 11:04 AM

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