Side Effects of Dolutegravir Anti-HIV Drug

In 2013, dolutegravir (its trade name Tivicay) was approved as an effective substance that decreases the amount of the virus in HIV-positive people and restores the human immune system. Patients will have lower chances to get complications, like cancer or other new infections. Dolutegravir significantly improves their life quality. Along with its positive influence, it may provoke side effects.

This powerful medicine is not used in monotherapy but combined with other antiretroviral drugs. It cannot cure HIV, but it effectively inhibits the virus by reducing its amount.

This helps patients have a healthier life and live longer. It also diminishes the risks of HIV transmission.

Dolutegravir: Important Facts

In infected individuals, the human immunodeficiency virus tends to multiply in the immune cells, gradually destroying them. As a result, the immune system weakens and becomes vulnerable to other diseases. If HIV is left untreated, this may lead to developing AIDS. That is why the emergence of dolutegravir has been a great breakthrough in modern medicine.

Now, the virus can be stopped from multiplying. Dolutegravir suppresses the viral integrase and prevents the viral genome from integrating into the host cell genome. What a prominent pharmacological achievement!

This ingredient has been acknowledged as a substance that induces mild side effects. In 2017, this component was even approved for pediatric use.

This medicine is manufactured in various strengths and can be prescribed for both treatment-experienced and treatment-naïve patients undergoing their first HIV treatment.Dolutegravir formula

Dolutegravir belongs to integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) and should always be combined with other antiviral remedies. It is known as a potent INSTI of the second generation for its ability to treat patients who have resistance to other inhibitors. This substance has a higher genetic barrier against development of the drug resistance.

One more benefit of dolutegravir is that it has fewer drug interactions than other HIV inhibitors.

What Should You Know About Side Effects?

In clinical trials, the drug was well tolerated by users, generally effective and safe. However, any therapy may cause side effects, and patients should be aware of these reactions. The most typical dolutegravir side effects include:

  • headaches;
  • diarrhea;
  • nasopharyngitis;
  • joint or muscle pain;
  • tiredness;
  • nausea.

Skin rashMost users don’t get any negative reactions using dolutegravir, but some individuals may acquire the following allergic symptoms:

  • fever;
  • swelling or redness of the eyes;
  • trouble breathing;
  • rash;
  • swelling of the face, lips, mouth;
  • peeling skin;
  • skin itching;
  • vision changes;
  • blisters in the mouth.

Allergic reactions can be provoked by hypersensitivity of a patient to the medicine. In rare cases, people may experience antiretroviral-related alopecia (thinning of hair or hair loss).

When people start taking dolutegravir, their immune system becomes stronger and may start fighting infections that a user had in the past. This may provoke the symptoms of the disease to come back. The immune system can get overactive at any time – in the first months of treatment or some months later. The symptoms of this condition include:

  • weight loss;
  • weakness which doesn’t disappear;
  • numbness of the legs or hands;
  • signs of infection (chills, cough, swollen lymph nodes, etc.);
  • signs of overactive thyroid (nervousness, irritability, heat intolerance, etc.).

Contact your therapist or the nearest emergency center if these symptoms bother you. Your GP has probably prescribed this medicine because positive treatment results are greater than the risk of getting adverse effects.

Dolutegravir and Central Nervous System (CNS)

The most typical side effects that affect the central nervous system (CNS) are headaches (10-13% of users) and dizziness (1-10% of users). These reactions are not dangerous and disappear over time when the body adjusts to the medicine.

The signs of more serious nerve problems may appear because of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Patients experience trouble with speaking or moving the eyes, may get paralysis, or have a drooping face.

Depression and Insomnia

DepressionInsomnia, headaches, and fatigue are also common side effects that appear with an intensity from moderate to severe. Abnormal dreams, insomnia, and depression occur in 1-10% of users, while suicidal attempts occur in 0.1-1% of patients. It should be mentioned that suicidal behavior and attempts are observed mostly in people with a history of psychiatric illnesses.

Depression and anxiety may be demonstrated by:

  • difficulty falling asleep;
  • excessive worry;
  • become easily angry or upset;
  • loss of pleasure doing everyday activities;
  • feeling fearful;
  • strange thoughts;
  • prolonged feeling of anger, sadness;
  • unexpectedly experience a lack of energy.

In fact, depression is a typical symptom in HIV-positive people, and this condition may not have a relation with the use of dolutegravir. Your doctor will help you determine the actual cause of your mental/mood changes.

Renal Failure and Liver Toxicity

Dolutegravir may cause serious reactions that may affect your liver or kidney functioning. Patients with a history of hepatitis C and B have higher risks getting adverse effects or worsening their current liver diseases.

VomitingHowever, negative reactions may occur in users who have no history of liver disorders. It is important to have liver function tests done before and during therapy with dolutegravir.

The first signals of liver disorders include the following symptoms:

  • dark-colored urine;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes;
  • light-colored stool;
  • loss of appetite;
  • tenderness or aching on the right side below the ribs;
  • elevated total bilirubin.

The role of the kidneys is to filter the blood and transport waste products into urine and absorb useful materials and nutrients into the blood. Dolutegravir can affect the ability of the kidneys to release some waste products (for example, creatinine) into urine. This leads to persistent increase of creatinine in the blood. This effect is not considered dangerous.

Individuals with kidney disorders may develop worsening of renal functioning and get such symptoms as changes in the urine amount or its trouble passing, fatigue, or nausea.

Tell your GP if you have any reactions that are troublesome or severe.

Weight Gain and Obesity

Liver toxicity may cause the formation of fat deposits in patients. People who take dolutegravir can notice fat redistribution around the body. Increased fat appears in the stomach areas and in the upper back (trunk, neck, breast), while in the legs and arms, the amount of fat is decreased.

If people experience unreasonable weight gain or obesity, they should address a health care practitioner and discuss all the treatment risks and benefits. Regular use of exercises may help reduce this adverse effect.

Safe Ways to Take Dolutegravir

Man takes tabletDolutegravir comes in a pill form and is taken by mouth. The drug is issued in 10, 25, and 50 mg strengths. It is prescribed for HIV-positive adults and kids older than 12 years (or those who weigh 40 kg). The medicine is taken with or without food.

The drug is used as per your doctor’s prescription. The manufacturer offers the following intake scheme:

  • 50 mg one time a day for people who never used INSTIs before;
  • 50 mg two times a day for people who have used INSTIs and are suspected to have (or have) resistance to these substances;
  • 50 mg two times a day for people who also use other HIV drugs.

Try to stick to a regimen and consume pills at evenly spaced intervals to keep the amount of the substance at a constant level. Continue taking dolutegravir even if you feel well. Try to replenish the stock timely because missing or skipping doses may worsen your health condition.

Dolutegravir is always combined with other HIV medicines. If you administer any other drugs, inform your GP before you start therapy. Other pills may interfere with dolutegravir and either reduce its effectiveness or cause side effects in users. For example, iron and calcium supplements/vitamins should be taken 6 hours after dolutegravir or 2 hours before its intake. The same is true for products containing magnesium and aluminum (substances used in laxatives and antacids).

Tell your doctor about all other consumed drugs (like birth control pills), dietary aids, or herbs. Inform your doctor before treatment if you have any diseases or allergies (especially hepatic or renal failure), or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to Cope with Side Effects?

Some adverse effects may not necessarily require medical help and go away on their own. Tell your physician about all abnormal reactions. He/she will help reduce unpleasant symptoms or prevent them. Inform your GP immediately if these effects continue to bother you.

It is very important to see your therapist for lab tests and checkups on a regular basis. Be meticulous in the following things:

  • practice safe sex (use latex condoms and dental dams);
  • use disposable syringes and needles;
  • use personal razors and toothbrushes;
  • have fewer sexual partners.

Careless drug administration may provoke side effects and bring more harm, for instance, by developing drug resistance, a condition in which the virus cannot be treated with any meds.

Purchase Dolutegravir Medication from Reliable Manufacturer

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