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

Popular U.S. Treatment for HIV Is Challenged by European Study


Washington Post (06/09/93), P. A4 (Brown, David)

The anti-AIDS drug AZT helps asymptomatic HIV-positive patients for only about a year, and neither slows the development of full-blown AIDS nor extends life, according to details of a European trial on AZT presented yesterday at the Ninth International Conference on AIDS in Berlin. The conclusions came from a French and English study called the "Concorde" that involved more than 1,700 asymptomatic HIV- infected patients. The preliminary results from the study were first indicated in a letter to the British journal Lancet in April. The Concorde trial is the largest and longest study of AZT, and lasted about three years. A lead researcher in the study said that the measurement of CD4 cells as an indicator of clinical benefit in treatment trials--a common practice in the accelerated testing of AIDS drugs in the United States--may be very misleading. Investigator Maxime Seligmann of the Hopital Saint Louis in Paris said the study addresses only the use of AZT in symptom-free patients, and it does not question the drug's effectiveness in patients with AIDS-related symptoms. But the findings are expected to prompt a reassessment of a common practice among American doctors, in which AZT is prescribed after a person's CD4 count falls below 500 cells per microliter of blood, regardless of symptoms. Related Stories: Financial Times (06/09) P. 1; Philadelphia Inquirer (06/09) P. A1.


Copyright © 1993 -CDC Prevention News Update, Publisher. All rights reserved to Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD. The CDC National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention provides the following information as a public service only. Providing synopses of key scientific articles and lay media reports on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis does not constitute CDC endorsement. This daily update also includes information from CDC and other government agencies, such as background on Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) articles, fact sheets, press releases and announcements. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update should be cited as the source of the information. Contact the sources of the articles abstracted below for full texts of the articles.

Information in this article was accurate in June 9, 1993. 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.