Five dose regimens of 2',3'-dideoxycytidine (ddC) were administered, intravenously for 2 weeks then orally for 4 or more weeks, to 20 patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or AIDS-related complex (ARC). ddC was well absorbed from the gut and crossed the blood-brain barrier. 10 of the 15 patients who received 0·03-0·09 mg/kg every 4 h had increases in their absolute number of T4+ T cells at week 2 (p < 0·05), though in many these rises were not sustained. 11 of 13 evaluable patients had a fall in their serum human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) p24 antigen by week 2 of therapy (p < 0·01); in 4 patients the p24 antigen subsequently rose to baseline while in others the decline was sustained. Dose-related toxic effects included cutaneous eruptions, fever, mouth sores, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia. A reversible painful peripheral neuropathy developed in 10 patients after 6-14 weeks' treatment. These results suggest that ddC has activity against HIV in vivo and has a different toxicity profile from that of zidovudine (AZT). 6 patients with AIDS or ARC were given an alternating regimen of oral AZT (200 mg every 4 h for 7 days) and oral ddC (0·03 mg/kg every 4 h for 7 days). The regimen was well tolerated, and the 5 patients who completed 9 or more weeks of treatment had sustained rises in their T4+ T cells and/or falls in p24 antigen.
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