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October 5, 1994

The Efficacy of Zidovudine Is Time Limited

Author Affiliations

White Plains, NY

JAMA. 1994;272(13):1001. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520130035017

To the Editor.  —Dr Lundgren and colleagues1 report a survival advantage in the first year in patients who received zidovudine, with decreased survival in the third year. Since publication of the study, several patients have asked us if we had heard or read the "news" that "AZT" was of no benefit.The study confirms previous studies that demonstrate a survival advantage in zidovudine-treated patients.2 Other studies have shown slower progression of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and fewer cases of dementia.3,4 Lundgren et al explain the increased third-year mortality as an expected outcome, with patients having had their lives prolonged for the first 2 years.Zidovudine might be of even more benefit than demonstrated in the study. Optimal dosage, aggressive prophylactic antibiotic therapy, and combination antiretroviral therapy might enhance the beneficial effects of zidovudine.It is clear that zidovudine is of benefit and has limited side effects.3

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