Some HIV drugs interact with commonly used over-the-counter medication, recreational drugs and even herbal supplements. Always inform your doctor of any drugs you're taking and read the labels carefully.
Taking two or more types of drugs (medicines) together can affect the way one or more of the drugs work. This is often referred to as a drug interaction.
The risk of interactions can happen when you take any type of drugs, including combinations of prescribed drugs with other prescribed drugs, medicines you can buy over the counter, herbal and other alternative remedies, and recreational drugs. Some of these interactions can happen with anti-HIV drugs.
These interactions can mean that you don't have enough of a drug present in your blood for it to work properly. If this happens with anti-HIV drugs, you risk developing resistance.
It can also mean that you have too much of a drug – then there's more of a chance of side-effects developing.
Some interactions can be very dangerous, making one or both of the drugs toxic.
Interactions are one of the reasons why it makes very good sense for your HIV doctor and pharmacist (and any other medical professional who provides you with medicines) to know about all the medicines and drugs you are taking.
There are interactions between some anti-HIV drugs and everyday, over-the-counter medicines that it is important to be aware of. These can include indigestion remedies and antihistamines.
It always makes good sense to read the leaflet that comes with all medicines as this will include information about possible drug interactions. You can also ask a pharmacist about possible interactions.
Anti-HIV drugs can also have serious interactions with recreational drugs.
You can check out a drug interaction chart from hiv-druginteractions.org.
Just like conventional medicine, herbal and other alternative remedies such as St John’s Wort or Sutherlandia can interact with anti-HIV drugs. Always check with your HIV doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal remedies.
Some recreational drugs can interact with some anti-HIV drugs. It's also wise to consider how recreational drug use could affect adherence to your HIV treatments as sleeping patterns and routine may well be disturbed.
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This article was last reviewed on
by Anna Peters
Date due for the next review: 14/6/2020
Content Author: S. Corkery (NAM)
Current Owner: Kerri Virani
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CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
HIV Drug Interactions
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