Lifestyle and Adherence
Taking your lifestyle into consideration when you choose a therapeutic regimen is an important part of the discussion you should have with your doctor.
To find a treatment regimen you can live with, it’s necessary to settle two sets of requirements: yours and the drug’s.
People who lead busy but largely unstructured lives might prefer drugs that can be taken easily with or without food. This may make it easier to fit therapy into changing routines. Others, whose time is tightly structured by work or school, might find it easier to go on more demanding regimens. These people can select a regimen purely on the basis of its potency. People who have trouble eating or who struggle with weight loss may wish to avoid drugs that can’t be taken with foods or even conversely, those requiring that they be taken with food. Others who take many other drugs for opportunistic infections or other health conditions might avoid HIV drugs that have many drug interactions. They might even avoid creating regimens that require taking many more pills.
Also, the more HIV drugs you’ve already used, often the fewer choices you have about what to use next. Thus, often in more advanced disease, your drug history tends to dictate what can and can’t be taken.
There may not be any perfect regimen for you, but there are options that are more and less easy to adapt to your life. The goal is to select a regimen you can live with — one that fits with who you are and how you live.
Once you select a regimen, sticking to it requires planning, support and commitment.
A few examples of lifestyle and drug-style include:
- Some people are bound to rigid work schedules, such as hourly workers.
- Some have constantly changing schedules, or they routinely move in and out of different time zones, like airline workers or truck drivers.
- Some people are unable to work and their schedules are dictated by a seemingly endless string of medical appointments.
- Some also have children, parents or partners to care for.
- Some have people around to help remind them of their drug schedules, while others are alone and must rely on timers, pill boxes or other devices.
- Some people have wasting syndrome or infections that might make eating difficult; others have no dietary problems but don’t eat regularly.
- Finally, some people have to deal with other challenges like substance abuse, homelessness or mental illness.
When you have a choice, picking a therapeutic regimen that is tolerable and fits your lifestyle is an important factor of your long-term care.
Adapted from www.projectinform.org