Treatment training manual

4.10 Other side effects

This manual concentrates on side effects that have historically caused problems. This is because they are often the side effects that people most worry about before starting HIV treatment (ART).

Luckily, wherever in the world you live, modern ART has a low risk of side effects.

Many of the side effects were linked to the used of d4T, which is now largely replaced by tenofovir DF in most countries.

The following side effects are related to currently used drugs:

  • Fatigue – feeling tired: most ARVs – but generally mild.
  • Hypersensitivity reactions: abacavir (also in Trizivir, Epzicom, Kivexa).
  • Kidney toxicity including kidney stones: tenofovir, Truvada, atazanavir.
  • Increased bilirubin and jaundice: atazanavir,
  • Increased cholesterol and triglycerides: some NNRTIs, most protease inhibitors.
  • Increased blood sugar and risk of type 2 diabetes: protease inhibitors.

If ARVs make you feel unwell – even if it’s not serious – you should tell your doctor.

Finding information on drugs and side effects

The Internet provides information about the drugs and side effects. Sites with good information (in English) on drugs and side effects include:

The i-Base Guide to HIV and Quality of Life includes an online review of these and other side effects.

i-Base also has online information on each drug with links to the full prescribing information.

An excellent and impressive set of basic factsheets on every drug are online in English and Spanish at AIDS infonet

Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN) is a US community organisation that includes an online review of each HIV drug.

Last updated: 1 January 2016.