Printer Friendly

Preventing AIDS pneumonia.

(As the result of a production error this article was difficult to read in the 1/2/93 issue. We regret any inconvenience this might have caused.)

Daily doses of the sulfa drug trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX) help AIDS patients fend off recurrences of a life-threatening form of pneumonia more effectively than do monthly treatments with aerosolized pentamidine, according to a pair of studies comparing the two widely used preventive medications.

However, the authors of the studies conclude that because it produces fewer side effects than TMP/SMX, aerosolized pentamidine may still prove preferable for protecting some AIDS patients from Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

This form of pneumonia strikes many people with AIDS and kills a large number of them. In the mid-1980s, physicians began prescribing pentamidine or TMP/SMX - both of which are also used to treat established cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia - for AIDS patients as a preventive measure. Without such therapy, 65 percent of patients taking the anti-AIDS drug zidovudine (AZT) who survive an initial episode of the pneumonia suffer further bouts.

In the first study, researchers led by Robert S. Holzman of New York University School of Medicine in New York City and W. David Hardy of the University of California, Los Angeles, found that 150 AIDS patients who inhaled an aerosol form of pentamidine once a month ran more than three times the risk of developing a recurrence of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia as the same number of patients taking daily TMP/SMX. However, the researchers report in the Dec. 24 New England Journal of Medicine, roughly one-fourth of the TMP/SMX patients had to stop taking the drug because it caused severe weakness or abdominal pain.

Researchers led by Margriet M.E. Schneider of the University Hospital Utrecht in the Netherlands report similar results in another study in the same journal. Schneider's team found that none of 142 AIDS patients taking daily TMP/SMX developed Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, while six of 71 AIDS patients receiving pentamidine treatments monthly fell ill.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
Author:Ezzell, Carol
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 9, 1993
Previous Article:AIDS codiscoverer censured for misconduct.
Next Article:Cyclosporin-protein complex controls genes.

Related Articles
Breathing life into an AIDS drug.
Two for AIDS: new drug and new patent.
... and applying them to public policy.
Compound kills lethal pneumonia bug.
Drug spray strikes out in severe pneumonia.
Preventing AIDS pneumonia.
Genetic Variation in Pneumocystis carinii Isolates from Different Geographic Regions: Implications for Transmission.
Approved Drugs for HIV/AIDS or AIDS-related Conditions.
Africa: children's access to prophylaxis may improve after medical study, new WHO recommendations.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters