Zidovudine and Didanosine Combination Therapy in Children With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection.

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We conducted a phase I-II study to evaluate the tolerance, pharmacokinetics, and antiviral activity of the combination of zidovudine and didanosine in children with HIV infection. Sixty-eight children who were either previously untreated or who had manifested hematologic toxicity on full-dose zidovudine were enrolled. Eight dose combinations were studied in the previously untreated children, with doses of zidovudine ranging from 90 to 180 mg/m2 every 6 hours and doses of didanosine ranging from 90 to 180 mg/m2 every 12 hours.


Fifty-four previously untreated HIV-infected children were enrolled in this part of the study, of whom 49 remained in the study for a minimum of 24 weeks. For children with previous zidovudine-related hematologic toxicity, three dose levels with zidovudine at 60 mg/m2 every 6 hours orally and didanosine ranging from 90 to 180 mg/m2 every 12 hours orally were used. A total of 14 children were enrolled in this part of the study, and 12 remained on therapy for at least 24 weeks. No evidence of new or enhanced toxicity was observed in either group. After 24 weeks, the median CD4 cell count for all patients increased from 331 to 556 cells/mm3 (P = .01). For the previously untreated group, the median increase in CD4 counts was from 386 to 726 cells/mm3 (P = .003). The median p24 antigen concentration (in those with a detectable level at baseline) decreased from 95 to <31 pg/mL (P < .001). The geometric mean titer of HIV in plasma decreased from 83.1 to 2.7 tissue culture infectious doses/mL (P = .001).


The combination of zidovudine and didanosine was well-tolerated at doses as high as those used in single agent therapy. Potent in vivo antiviral activity was observed. Combination therapy with nucleoside analogues may be an important approach to optimizing the use of these agents in the treatment of HIV infection. Pediatrics 1994;93:316-322; human immunodeficiency virus, zidovudine, didanosine, nucleoside analogues, combination therapy, HIV therapy, antiretroviral therapy, pediatric HIV infection.

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