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February 28, 1996

Increased Zidovudine Prescribing Associated With Lamivudine Availability

Author Affiliations

St Paul's Hospital Vancouver, British Columbia

JAMA. 1996;275(8):598. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530320022027

To the Editor.  —We previously described a significant decrease in zidovudine use in British Columbia following the announcement of the Concorde Trial during the first quarter of 1993.1 We conducted the present analysis to assess recent rates of prescribing zidovudine in the province. The distribution of antiretroviral drugs in British Columbia is free of charge through the provincial Centre for Excellence in HIV/ AIDS [human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] Treatment Program.1 For physicians to prescribe zidovudine, they must complete a patient enrollment form that serves as the drug prescription. This application is accompanied by a CD4 cell count determination. Individuals infected with HIV are eligible to receive zidovudine from this program if they have at least one CD4 cell count less than 0.50×109/L (500/μL). There is no other legal source of zidovudine in the province.Lamivudine (3TC, Epivir) first became available through an open-label expanded-access program