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Op-Ed

Can I change the schedule of my ARV intake?

A Filipino living with HIV wants to know if he can change the schedule when he takes his antiretroviral meds, and Dr. Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon responds.

Dr. Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon – president of the AIDS Society of the Philippines and current Chief of Clinics of Sta. Ana Hospital – answers all your HIV-related inquiries. For all your questions, email josescon1@gmail.com or info@outragemag.com.

Hi, Doc,

I am on LTE; but this was given to me at 6PM, so there are effects I don’t want (e.g. sleepiness), and which I believe I can minimize if I take my meds at a later time (when I’m about to sleep at 10PM).

Can I change the time of my ARV intake?

Thanks.

Mr. Time-conscious

That (changing time for med intake) is fine; a few hours of adjustment accordingly is okay as long as it is still regularly taken because we need to achieve and maintain therapeutic levels. Slowly, you can make the change; you can add an hour or two hours from the usual time you are taking until reaching 10:00 PM.

Other special precautions with ARV timing is whether to take or not to take ARV before or after meals when you adjust timing of intake. Please take note of this as well. Most drugs are now in combination pills preparation and we need to check each and every component to maximize efficacy.

Efavirenz, alone, is taken on either an empty stomach at night just before sleeping or two hours before eating or two to three hours after eating is a safe gauge that it does not interact with meal intake. So if if it is combined with other meds, to maximize efficacy, this can be noted as a consideration.

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It is still best to check with your HIV specialist on any particular queries you may still have.

Thanks.

Fondly called Jojo, Jose Narciso Melchor Sescon is a medical doctor with specialization in obstetrics and gynecology. Spending much of his time in public health services with focus on HIV and AIDS, STI, and sexual and reproductive health, Jojo wears multiple hats, blending public health advocacy and clinical-cum-administrative work. For 12 years, he served as the Executive Director of Remedios AIDS Foundation, the pioneering AIDS service organization in the Philippines. Then in 2008, he assumed the presidency of the AIDS Society of the Philippines, which he still heads now. Jojo is also the current Chief of Clinics of Sta. Ana Hospital, and has held regional and local consultancy works for development agencies. Jojo is a self-confessed lacto-vegetarian, a raja yoga meditation practitioner, and a health/wellness buff. He also loves to share his thoughts and reflections based on learned skills/competencies and experiences. This soft-spoken soul loves taking on new initiatives/roles, and loves to talk with people about spirituality and good health.

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