A new study reveals that half of HIV patients skipped their antiretroviral drugs when they were drinking—a risky practice that could lead to treatment failure. Researchers followed nearly 200 people who were on antiretroviral medications and also drank alcohol. The study found that 51 percent of the patients avoided taking their pills when they drank—due in part to an erroneous belief that it is dangerous to combine the medications with alcohol.
Because going off and on antiretroviral drugs can lead to drug resistance, researchers say the risk of going off the pills far outweighs the risk of combining the medication with alcohol. Indeed, people who skipped the pills were found to have higher levels of HIV and and worse immune system health. Generally, alcohol use is linked with poor adherence to a medication regimen; but in the case of HIV treatment, the consequences of poor adherence are especially severe.
If you think you may have a problem with substance abuse, Phoenix House is here to help. Email or call our toll free number today: 1 888 671 9392.