Q. Should the HIV medicines be changed after taking them for 11 years?

Answered by
Dr. Ravinder Kaur Sachdeva
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 03, 2017 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hello doctor,

My uncle aged 54 and aunt aged 47 are using Lamivudine, Nevirapine, and Zidovudine tablets for the last 11 years. Can they continue to use or do they need a change in their medicines? My aunt has few health issues like a sore throat and loss of voice and has been suffering from a slight pain on both sides of rib area for a few years. Is this because of the above medicines? Or is to due to less work? There are no issues with my uncle. Other than the ones stated above, they have no health complications. Should they continue taking the medications? Are any tests required? Someone has told them that after 11 years of being on the above medications, they need to change them. Is that true? Do they need to change the medicines? Please provide the Information which will help them a lot.



Welcome to

  • As per the treatment guidelines, if a person is stable on the antiretroviral regimen, there is improving and stable CD4 cell count with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) viral load undetectable, then there is no need to change the regimen or the drug combinations.
  • But, if there is a virological or immunological or a clinical failure while on therapy or there is drug toxicity, therapy needs to be switched or substituted.
  • A sore throat could be due to various reasons and not due to the antiretroviral regimen.
  • Regarding the loss of voice, complete details and a thorough examination are required.
  • Pain on the sides of ribs again needs evaluation. There could be drug-induced myalgias. But, again a detailed history is required.
  • Changing medicines after 10 years is not advisable unless the reasons as described above.
  • The medicines which they are receiving require 100% adherence. They should surely continue with the same combination.
  • I suggest you get their CD4 count and HIV-1 viral load checked and get back to me with their previous records. So, that I could help you in advising if they require any switching of the treatment or not.

For more information consult an HIV AIDS specialist online -->

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