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TWO LONG-AWAITED trials of drugs to treat HIV disease and AIDS are yielding results that may prompt a shift away from using AZT (formally known as zidovudine) monotherapy as a first-line treatment for the viral infection.
Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) held in San Francisco, Calif, last month, researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston Mass, and Stanford (Calif) University School of Medicine described surprising findings from AIDS Clinical Trial Group 175 (ACTG 175), a multicenter study of nearly 2500 participants.
The trial found that AZT, the oldest and most widely prescribed drug for the infection, is less effective in patients with intermediate disease than monotherapy with an alternative antiretroviral drug, didanosine (also called ddI), or than regimens that combine AZT with ddI or another nucleoside analog, zalcitobine (also called ddC).
"The finding that treatment in intermediate-stage HIV disease can
Stephenson J. Other AIDS Drug Regimens Beat AZT Alone, Reduce Clinical Progression and Mortality. JAMA. 1995;274(15):1183-1184. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530150009003