Antiretroviral Therapy : Medications and Side Effects

Antiretroviral Therapy : Medications and Side Effects

Antiretroviral treatment (ART) employs a cocktail of medications to lower the body’s HIV levels. These medications are quite efficient in reducing the effects of the virus when used regularly.

Even though there are regional and population-based disparities, improvements in ART have allowed many people with HIV to enjoy life expectancies that are on par with those of persons without the virus. ART keeps the body healthy and stops problems from getting worse. It will also prevent them from spreading the infection to others if they adhere to this regimen as directed.

Regardless of how long they have had the virus or how healthy they are, the Centres for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) advise all patients with HIV to get this therapy. ART has improved in recent years, becoming more effective, less harmful, and simpler to administer. It produces fewer and milder adverse effects than it did previously.

How do Antiretroviral medications function?

A retrovirus is HIV. HIV is fought with Antiretroviral medication, which reduces the quantity of the virus in the body.

A retrovirus spreads by inserting itself into host cells in the body and producing copies of itself, which continue to replicate. The virus can gradually destroy a person’s immune system.

Antiretroviral medication in combination is advised by doctors to treat HIV. Usually, two or more medications from these classes are involved:

  • NRTI: inhibitors of nucleoside reverse transcriptase
  • Anti-reverse transcriptase agents known as NNRTIs
  • Protease inhibitors (PI)
  • Integrase strand transfer inhibitors, or INSTI

Side effects of Antiretroviral therapy

Drugs used to treat HIV might have negative side effects. A few can be dangerous, but the majority are controllable. Newer medications often have fewer and milder adverse effects.

Often, the advantages of taking HIV medicine exceed the disadvantages. These medications can lower the risk of HIV-related problems and transmission, allowing patients to enjoy long, healthy lives.

Depending on the type of drug used, there are several potential adverse effects. Sometimes, different people will experience distinct side effects from the same medicine.

Short-term ART side effects including tiredness or nausea may only last a few days or weeks. Some adverse effects, including increased cholesterol, can take many months or years to manifest.

The following are potential ART side effects:

  • Headache
  • Nauseous and dizzy
  • Diarrhoea exhaustion trouble sleeping dry mouth rash dizzy pain

The following are possible long-term ART adverse effects:

  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart condition
  • Renal injury
  • Liver injury
  • Nerve injury
  • Osteoporosis, or brittle bones
  • Increased blood fat concentrations


Antiretroviral medications work well to treat HIV. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be started as soon as possible for everyone who tests positive for the virus, according to organisations throughout the world.

ART can lessen the chance of difficulties brought on by HIV, halt the virus’ growth, and limit further transmission. Also, it can lengthen a person’s life and improve their quality of life. With ART, some people occasionally have adverse effects. After a few days or weeks of therapy, some of symptoms ought to go. If not, a medical professional may be required to prescribe alternative medications.