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HIV Therapy Less Aggressive; Warnings Issued About Antiretroviral Agents

KEY POINT

Even in the treatment of HIV infection, risks of drug therapy must be balanced against benefits. Two recently issued warnings drive home this point. First, used in an abbreviated 4-week regimen for postexposure HIV prophylaxis in health care workers, nevirapine (Viramune— Boehringer Ingelheim) caused severe liver damage. Second, pregnant women with HIV/AIDS were shown to be at higher risk than other patients for lactic acidosis and liver damage when treated with stavudine (Zerit—Bristol-Myers Squibb) and didanosine (Videx, Videx EC—Bristol-Myers Squibb).

SOURCES

Boxwell D et al. Serious adverse events attributed to nevirapine regimens for postexposure prophylaxis after HIV exposures— worldwide, 1997–2000. MMWR. 2001;49:1153-6.

Bristol Myers Squibb. Letter to health care providers. 2001 Jan 5. .

Fox M. Back off a bit on HIV drugs, experts decide. Reuters News Service. 2001 Jan 18.