Julio S.G. Montaner, MD; Martin T. Schechter, MD, PhD; Anita Rachlis, MD; John Gill, MD; Raymond Beaulieu, MD; Chris Tsoukas, MD; Janet Raboud, PhD; Bill Cameron, MD; Horacio Salomon, PhD; Lisa Dunkle, MD; Laurie Smaldone, MD; Mark A. Wainberg, PhD; The Canadian HIV Trials Network Protocol 002 Study Group*
To compare the safety and efficacy of didanosine with that of continued zidovudine therapy in persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection who had received zidovudine for at least 6 months and had CD4 cell counts of 200 to 500 CD4 cells/mm3.
Double-blind, randomized, controlled trial.
10 Canadian university-affiliated specialty clinics.
246 patients were assigned to receive standard doses of either zidovudine or didanosine.
The primary clinical end point was the occurrence of a new, previously undiagnosed acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining illness or death.
245 of 246 patients were eligible (118 receiving didanosine and 127 receiving zidovudine). Sixty-six percent were asymptomatic, 30% had AIDS-related complex, and 4% had AIDS. The median baseline CD4 count was 320 cells/mm3. The median previous duration of zidovudine therapy was 471 days. Nine new AIDS-defining illnesses developed during the study; all but one were in the zidovudine group (relative risk, 7.9 [95% CI, 1.0 to 63.3; P = 0.02]). A change to didanosine led to a statistically significant increase in CD4 counts by week 2 that persisted until the end of the study at week 48 (P < equals 0.01). Viral sensitivity studies (done in 102 patients) showed that 28% of the zidovudine group and 21% of the didanosine group had high-level in vitro resistance to zidovudine (50% inhibitory concentration greater than 0.8 µm) at baseline (P = 0.49). Only one patient in the didanosine group developed high-level resistance to zidovudine during the study. In the zidovudine group, the cumulative probability of developing high-level resistance to zidovudine was 59% at 1 year (P = 0.01). Abdominal pain, leukopenia, and neutropenia were more frequent in the zidovudine group, and hyperuricemia was more frequent in the didanosine group (P < 0.05).
In clinically stable patients with 200 to 500 CD4 cells/mm3 who had tolerated zidovudine for at least 6 months, a change to didanosine led to a decrease in the rate of disease progression, a sustained increase in CD4 counts, and a decrease in the chances of developing high-level resistance to zidovudine. Both drugs were generally well tolerated.
*For additional members of the Canadian HIV Trials Network Protocol 002 Study Group, see the Appendix.
Montaner JS, Schechter MT, Rachlis A, Gill J, Beaulieu R, Tsoukas C, et al. Didanosine Compared with Continued Zidovudine Therapy for HIV-Infected Patients with 200 to 500 CD4 Cells/mm3: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 1995;123:561–571. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-123-8-199510150-00001
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1995;123(8):561-571.
HIV, Infectious Disease.
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