Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Old HIV Drug Linked to Liver Problems

Didanosine, the second drug approved for the treatment of HIV infections and one of the oldest weapons in the AIDS armamentarium, has been found to produce rare cases of potentially fatal liver disease in patients taking it for long periods, the Food and Drug Administration announced Monday. Didanosine, marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb under the brand names Videx and Videx EC (an extended release version), was approved by the FDA in 1991, joining AZT as the only drugs then approved to treat HIV. It is a reverse transcriptase inhibitor, blocking the action of the key enzyme used by HIV in replicating. It has limited value when used alone because the virus rapidly mutates to overcome it, and is thus generally used in drug cocktails.