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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.

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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.

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

Thanks.

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