what are the side effects of Trikafta

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Trikafta (elexacaftor/tezacaftor/ivacaftor) is a medication used to treat cystic fibrosis in patients with specific mutations. While it has been hailed for its effectiveness in improving lung function and reducing symptoms of cystic fibrosis, it also comes with a range of potential side effects. These side effects can vary in severity and impact on patients, ranging from common, less serious issues to more severe or rare complications.

Common Side Effects

The most frequently reported side effects of Trikafta include:
  • Headache
  • Upper respiratory tract infection (common cold), including stuffy and runny nose
  • Stomach (abdominal) pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Increase in liver enzymes
  • Increase in a certain blood enzyme called creatine phosphokinase
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Inflamed sinuses
  • Increase in blood bilirubin

Serious Side Effects

Trikafta can also cause more serious side effects, such as:
  • Liver damage and worsening of liver function, which can be serious and may require attention. This includes symptoms like pain or discomfort in the upper right stomach area, yellowing of the skin or the white part of the eyes, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, and dark, amber-colored urine.
  • Serious allergic reactions, which may include rash or hives, tightness of the chest or throat or difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, and/or tongue, or difficulty swallowing, and light-headedness or dizziness.
  • Abnormality of the eye lens (cataract), which has occurred in some children and adolescents treated with Trikafta. Regular eye examinations are recommended for these age groups.

Additional Considerations

  • Liver function tests are recommended before starting Trikafta, every 3 months during the first year of treatment, and annually thereafter. More frequent testing may be necessary for patients with a history of liver enzyme elevations.
  • Patients are advised to avoid food or drink that contains grapefruit while taking Trikafta, as it can increase side effects.

Patient Experiences

Some patients have reported experiencing side effects that significantly impacted their quality of life, including cognitive issues such as memory problems, concentration issues, mood changes, anxiety, and forgetfulness. These side effects led some patients to discontinue Trikafta despite its benefits for cystic fibrosis symptoms. It's important for patients to communicate any side effects they experience to their healthcare provider, as adjustments to the treatment plan may be necessary. Additionally, reporting side effects to regulatory agencies or the drug manufacturer can contribute to a better understanding of the medication's impact and potentially lead to improvements in its safety profile. In summary, while Trikafta offers significant benefits for many cystic fibrosis patients, it is also associated with a range of side effects that can vary widely in terms of severity and impact. Patients and healthcare providers should work closely together to monitor for these effects and adjust treatment as needed.
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