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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Treatment of CMV Retinitis


New England Journal of Medicine (06/18/92) Vol. 326, No. 25, P. 1701

The more toxic side effects and decreased anti-HIV activity of the combination of ganciclovir and zidovudine (AZT) to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis could explain the poorer performance of the combination as compared with foscarnet in the study published in the Jan. 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, writes Susan W. Cox and Britta Wahren of the National Bacteriological Laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden. Foscarnet has not only been shown to act synergistically with AZT against the HIV, but also the combination of foscarnet and AZT have reduced toxicity as compared with either drug alone. But ganciclovir has demonstrated increased toxicity synergistically in combination with AZT. Moreover, recent studies in the laboratory have shown that ganciclovir may antagonize the anti-HIV effect of zidovudine, which explains the apparently decreased anti-HIV effect of the combination of ganciclovir and AZT, conclude the researchers.


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Information in this article was accurate in June 18, 1992. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.