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Being Alive
Walt Senterfitt
February 5, 1993
Being Alive 1993 Feb 5: 9

On January 22, results of a study comparing ddC to ddI were announced. This study was conducted the CPCRA (Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS), a community-based rather than university-based network. The reported trial enrolled 467 participants, about one-third of them non-white, one-quarter current or former injection drug users, and 10% women. This group had significantly more advanced disease than the ddI/AZT study: median T4 cell count was 37.

The central finding was that the two drugs are essentially comparable in delaying progression or death in this group. Dr. Donald Abrams, chairman of the San Francisco Community Consortium and principal investigator for the study, stated, "In both groups, the time to the first event that marked a progression of disease was about nine months. The trend in survival rate for patients taking ddC was slightly better, but not statistically significant. Patients taking ddI had a small, transient rise in their CD4+ T cell count early in the study, but this increase lasted only as short time." In toxicity, about two-thirds of patients on each drug suffered at least one adverse event that was attributed to their assigned medication. The pattern of side effects was different, however. The ddI patients reported more stomach pain, diarrhea, and symptoms of pancreatitis. The ddC patients reported mostly symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (numbness, pain or burning in the feet or hands) or painful mouth ulcers.