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Glaxo says HIV drug problems well known


LONDON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Pharmaceuticals company Glaxo Wellcome Plc confirmed a press report on Sunday saying that its HIV treatment drug Ziagen can spark serious and sometimes fatal reactions in patients, but said the problems were well known.

An unknown number of patients have died as a result of so-called hypersensitivity reactions to Ziagen, which was launched in the United States and Europe last year.

Glaxo said about four percent of patients showed some susceptibility to this reaction.

But a spokesman said the company had always kept doctors and patients informed of the possible side-effects, even before the drug was licensed.

"This has been so well documented that it is very well known, especially within the HIV community," he said.

He said that as the number of people using the drug grew and they were carefully monitored, it was hoped that the proportion of adverse reactions could be brought down.

All treatments of the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV), which leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), are very potent drugs.

Glaxo's HIV drugs -- from the late 1980s Retrovir to its most recent ones, Ziagen and Agenerase -- together account for a third of the market and sales are growing.


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Information in this article was accurate in August 20, 2000. 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.