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October 17, 1990

Wider Access Provided to AIDS Drugs With Actions Against HIV, CMV Infections

JAMA. 1990;264(15):1926. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450150024007

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PHYSICIANS NOW HAVE broader access to two more treatments for patients who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Dideoxycytidine (ddC, Hoffmann-LaRoche, Nutley, NJ) is being offered to patients who cannot take zidovudine (AZT, Burroughs Wellcome, Research Triangle Park, NC), the only approved drug that fights the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) linked to AIDS.

Foscarnet (trisodium phosphonoformate, Astra Pharmaceuticals, Westborough, Mass) is available for patients who cannot take ganciclovir (Cytovene, Syntex, Humacao, PR) the sole treatment for cytomegalovirus. Foscarnet is also being offered to patients who have acyclovir-resistent herpes. Its main side effect is renal toxicity.

Ganciclovir can induce neutropenia, and both zidovudine and ganciclovir suppress bone marrow, to the extent that one is a contraindication for the other in patients who have anemia. Both agents also tend to become ineffective after prolonged use.

The drug ddC has been available to patients who cannot take zidovudine or dideoxyinosine (ddI, Bristol-Myers Squibb, New