How important is a commitment to the therapy

What is the commitment to the therapy?

Commitment means that you take your medicine regularly and at the same time following all the instructions. This involves taking a prescribed medication in the correct time and, if necessary, compliance to special diet.

It is important to do everything possible to develop a routine that will help you follow these, sometimes complex, daily tasks. Being devoted to it may be difficult and will certainly be needed a support to get used to the changes that you make in your life. This is the most important thing you need to think about before taking the combination therapy.

It would be best to start taking the therapy when you have more free time and space in order to make it easier to adjust to the new situation. Nothing else should be more important than your first few weeks of therapy since you started taking it.

How much is enough?

The time you take your medicine is strict and precisely prescribed. The delay within an hour will not change the effectiveness of therapy, but this should not happen often.

With certain medicines you should change your diet. If you choose not to follow the advice on the diet, necessary amount of drug will not get into the blood.

Everyone can sometimes be late to take the dose. How much, in fact, we must be committed to accurate and strict intake of each dose? Unfortunately, the answer is "you must be nearly 100% dedicated to it".

Many studies have shown that skipping doses, missing only one or two per week can have an impact on adherence.

The results of studies, which are below, showed that from people who have dedicated 95% (only one of the 20 doses was missed or delayed), only 81% of them had an immeasurable amount of virus in the blood.

% of dedication
% of people with immeasurable amount of HIV in the blood

over 95%

90 - 95%

80 - 90%

70 - 80%

Below 70%

On the other hand, the survey was conducted among HIV positive prisoners who have not missed a single dose (each taking doses were monitored) and after a year they all had viral loads of less than 400 copies (and 85% had less than 50 copies).

Research results do not suggest that we must all be in jail, but you should find a way to take medications on time in order to be successful in the long run.

• After each day of week, estimate how much you have committed to taking the therapy and at the same time be strict with yourself.
• If you suspect that you do not succeed and that you need more support - it is available, but you need to ask for it.
• Talk with your doctor.
• Seek advice from people who use a similar treatment.

• The choice of drugs. Make sure that you have all the information you need before starting treatment: How many pills? What size are they? How often a day? How accurate must be? Are there any restrictions in diet? Is there a simpler option?
• Create a table with a daily schedule of taking all doses and the first few weeks mark each dose that you drink. This will help create a routine of taking medication.
• Every morning put all the pills you have to drink that day in a special box so you could always count them in case you are unsure whether you have missed a dose.
• Use an alarm to remind you to take morning and evening doses.
• Get enough amount of medicines in advance if you are traveling somewhere for a few days.
• Keep somewhere small stock of medicines in case of emergency - in your car, at work or at your friend's place.
• Ask friends to help you remember the time to take drugs during the evening event you are all visiting.
• Ask friends who already use the therapy about their expirience (and how do they to manage).
• Connect taking medications with some action that you do every day (for example, drink medicine every day before the news, quiz, or series that follow).
• Ask your doctor to prescribe some medication for nausea and diarrhea. These are the most common side effects during beginning of the therapy. For more complicated side effects, contact a doctor, it may be possible to change the combination.
• If you skip a dose that you should take once a day, it is much more serious than if you miss a medication that is taken twice a day! Being dedicated is very important for the combinations that are applied once a day!

What if I forget to drink a pill?

Almost everyone can forget at least once to take their medicine or not to take it on time. There is a difference between not taking medication occasionaly and frequently forgetting to take it, on a daily or weekly basis. It is necessary to be careful and take the correct dose at the right time.

If you regularly take medication, but often late or you miss a dose completely, a better solution would be to completely stop using the treatment until you are in a position to better manage the distribution of medication, because otherwise it will show resistance to drugs.

There may be minor drug combinations that you can take. Some people do not like a large amount of pills, some do not like the food saturated with fat, some people do not like to drink a large amount of water, while some still have a problem with taking drugs at work during the day. All these factors are important in deciding which combination of drugs would be best for you.

Your schedule of taking doses of drugs must be observed during the workweek and on weekends, holidays, travels ...

If you realize you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember. But if you understand this at the moment when it is already time for your next dose, do not duplicate it and do not take two doses at once.

The use of drugs and other medications

The effect of some anti-HIV medications can be changed if you use drugs, methadone, or other types of medications not prescribed by your doctor.

Interaction of drugs with each other can be complicated and affect the amount of drug in the blood.

Therefore, it is very important that your doctor knows if you use drugs or other medications in addition to your HIV treatment, even if it is only occasionally. Your doctor will considerethis information as professional secret.

Alcohol does not change the effect of anti-HIV therapy. However, excessive use of alcohol, especially combined with drug use, can prevent you from taking regular daily doses. It is important that your doctor knows this fact as well.