Does PEP have side effects?
I am confused with PEP treatment, specifically about the side effects.
From sexual health charities I hear that PEP treatment can cause occasional side effects which may or may not go over the 28 days treatment. Another one (THT) says that the side effects are extreme and about 1 in 5 people on PEP stop taking it as a result.
The sexual health nurse said that side effects on PEP are very common and are severe.
I’ve heard from 3 people who have had PEP and they said that they didn’t get any side effects.
What’s the official line on PEP and side effects? I thought that PEP usually uses recommended triple therapy, using drugs that are well tolerated. Is the conflicting information I am receiving due to outdated data or current data?
Thank you for any clarity you provide.
It is difficult to predict whether a person will develop any side effects at all and if yes, which particular. Anyone starting PEP should have similar information to someone starting HIV treatment – the same drugs are often used for both situations. Possible side effects (again, if any) will be similar to those that may appear when starting treatment.
The most common side effects are nausea, diarrhoea and tiredness. These usually get easier after the first week or so.
Most side effects are usually mild. If they are difficult, then you should discuss this with a doctor. Other meds can be prescribed to reduce these side effects or alternative treatment may be suggested.