HIV drugs have a knack for nasty side effects, but it’s tough to get reliable stats. This chart offers figures primarily from drug companies’ clinical trials, but solely relying on them can minimize or exclude many problems, such as hair loss with 3TC, and lipodystrophy and severe gas with protease inhibitors. Whenever you experience side effects, consult your doctor.

PROTEASE INHIBITORS

Side Effect Reported Incidence Rates*
 Saquinavir (Invirase or Fortovase)
 
 Diarrhea15%–20%
 Vomiting3%–5%
 Nausea10%–18%
Acid reflux
9%
Headaches
5%–9%
Fatigue
5%–9%
Elevated liver enzymes 2%–6%
  
Ritonavir (Norvir)
 
Weakness
9%–28%
Abdominal pain
4%–7%
Decreased appetite
6%–8%
Nausea
23%–47%
Diarrhea 18%–22%
Vomiting
15%–22%
Paresthesia (mouth tingling or numbness)
5%–6%
Altered taste sensations
5%–16%
Elevated liver enzymes  3%–15%
Elevated creatinine (measure of kidney function)
7%–9%
  
Indinavir (Crixivan)
 
Kidney stone or sludge/flank pain
4%–37%
Elevated liver enzymes
10%–12%
Abdominal pain
9%
Nausea
12%
  
Nelfinavir (Viracept) 
Diarrhea
20%–32%
Nausea
2%–7%


Amprenavir (Agenerase)

Diarrhea 51%
Nausea 
37%
Vomiting
23%
Headache 
24%
Rash
28%
Paresthesia
25%
Fatigue
23%

NUCLEOSIDE ANALOGS
 Side Effect Reported
Incidence Rates*
AZT (Retrovir)**

Anemia1%–29%
Granulocytopenia (shortage
of a type of white blood cell)
2%–37%
Abdominal pain 
9%
Decreased appetite
20%
Constipation
6%
Dizziness
6%
Headache
18%
Muscle pain 
62%
Nausea
51%
Vomiting
17%
  
3TC (Epivir)
 
Diarrhea
18%
Nausea
 33%
Decreased appetite
10%
Dizziness
10%
Depression 
9%
Insomnia
11%
Nasal problems
20%
Headache
35%
  
d4T (Zerit)
 
Peripheral neuropathy
13%–24%
Pancreatitis
7%–13%
Abdominal pain
34%
Nausea and vomiting
38%
Diarrhea 
50%
Headache
54%
Rash
40%
Insomnia
29%
Decreased appetite
19%
Elevated liver enzymes
11%–13%
Neutropenia (shortage of a type of white blood cell)
5%
Elevated amylase levels (indicator of possible pancreatitis)
14%
  
ddC (Hivid)
 
Peripheral neuropathy 
22–35%
  
ddI (Videx)
 
Peripheral neuropathy
16%–34%
Pancreatitis 
7%–13%
Diarrhea
16%–34%
 
 
Abacavir (Ziagen)
 
Nausea
47%
Diarrhea
12%
Decreased appetite
11%
Insomnia
7%
Hypersensitivity reaction
3%–5%


NUCLEOTIDE ANALOG
Side Effect Reported
Incidence Rates*
Adefovir (Preveon)
Renal (kidney) toxicities
 17%–32%


NNRTIS (NONNUCLEOSIDE REVERSE TRANSCRIPTASE INHIBITORS)
Side Effect ReportedIncidence Rates*
Nevirapine (Viramune)
Rash
24%–37%
 
Delavirdine (Rescriptor)  
Rash
18%
Neutropenia
3%–7%
Elevated amylase levels  1%–7%
  
Efavirenz (Sustiva)
 
Central nervous system problems (headache, insomnia, dizziness, malaise, anxiety)
25%–40%
Rash
12%
Nausea
10%–20%

*Only side effects reported by at least 5 percent of the drug's users are included.
**Some percentages listed here date from AZT's earliest use, with a much higher dosage than is now recommended.