December 1, 2009
New HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines announced on Monday by the World Health Organization (WHO) include phasing out the use of stavudine (d4T) due to its side effects.
Stavudine has long-term, cumulative and irreversible side effects such as peripheral neuropathy (nerve disorder characterized by numbness, weakness and burning pain of hands and feet), and lipoatrophy (loss of fat from specific parts of the body). While its use has declined globally from about 80 percent of people taking ARVs in 2006, about half of patients still are using a d4T-containing regimen, WHO said.
Marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. as Zerit in the United States, d4T is manufactured in generic forms by Indian firms Cipla Ltd., Aurobindo Pharma Ltd., and Strides Arcolab Ltd. Because it is relatively cheap and easy to use, d4T is a widely prescribed first-line AIDS drug in low- and medium-income countries.
11.29.2009; Stephanie Nebehay
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