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AZT or zidovudine (zīdōˈvyo͞odēnˌ), drug used to treat patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS; also called azidothymidine. Originally developed in 1964 as an anticancer drug, AZT was never approved for that purpose. In 1984, Burroughs-Wellcome Company, which owned the rights to the drug, reexamined it as part of a search for any antiviral drug that might be effective against the AIDS virus. It was approved by the FDA in 20 months, rather than the usual 8 to 10 years, in part for humanitarian reasons; thousands of people were dying of AIDS, no other treatment was forthcoming, and AIDS activists were lobbying heavily for approval.

AZT affects HIV's ability to reproduce by inhibiting the transcription of RNA to DNA. Although AZT can be helpful in the short term by promoting weight gain, decreasing the number of opportunistic infections, and improving T4 (CD4) lymphocyte counts (see immunity), some researcher believe studies of its effectiveness to be flawed and regard the drug as too toxic for long-term use. There is also a question of whether it is helpful in HIV-positive, asymptomatic people. AZT does not cure or prevent AIDS, nor does it keep one from transmitting the virus to others, although some studies show that it does lessen the possibility that an HIV-infected mother will transmit the virus to her fetus.

Adverse effects include bone marrow depression, headache, nausea, muscle pain, and a reduction in the number of certain white blood cells. The risk of side effects increases when certain other drugs, including acetaminophen, are taken at the same time.

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References in periodicals archive ?
Thereafter the animals were treated according to the next experimental groups: Sham, Sham + AZT, PH alone, and PH + AZT.
After confirmation of preneoplastic lesions on rat's liver, groups C and D were treated by intraperitoneal injection (IP) of 0.9 mg/kg/day of Pt-AZT and 0.3 mg/ kg/day of AZT, respectively (38) for 14 days.
[2] However, at the baseline visit, AZT was required to be substituted by d4T because of anemia (n = 6, 3.8%) and NVP was to be substituted by EFV (n = 4, 2.5%) because of its non-availability in NACO supply.
Prescriptions per month for drugs in each group before and after the new guidelines (mean n) Group 1, Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Post-2010, Drug pre-2010 post-2010 post-2010 post-2010 combined mean Abacavir 1.00 0.92 0.00 3.08 1.33 Aluvia 6.00 11.04 16.29 10.00 12.44 Combivir 2.17 2.63 0.46 0.17 1.09 DDI 1.42 2.63 2.42 0.00 1.68 EFV 57.67 60.79 61.88 64.25 62.31 3TC 61.17 63.38 68.58 64.42 65.46 NVP 3.50 2.67 0.78 0.92 1.46 Reyataz 0.00 0.75 1.46 1.00 1.07 D4T 49.50 35.42 32.96 17.00 28.46 TDF 4.17 20.75 30.21 38.83 29.93 Truvada 2.50 6.46 8.00 13.17 9.21 AZT 7.92 8.71 8.50 6.00 7.74 DDI = didanosine; EFV = efavirenz; 3TC = lamivudine; NVP = nevirapine; D4T = stavudine; TDF = tenofovir; AZT = zidovudine.
Data were analyzed from the perspective of an intention to treat in which participants from AZ MDA-treated villages who refused treatment were classified with those who accepted AZT as members of treatment villages.
The amount of AZT in each sample was detected spectrophotometrically (Hitachi U-1800 spectrophotometer) by measuring the absorbance of the clear supernatant at [[lambda].sub.max] of 265 nm.
gender, age, marital status, highest education, occupation, baseline body mass index (BMI) (or BMI prior to AZT therapy), smoking, alcohol consumption and AZT-based HAART regimen.
They compared immunological restoration 1 year and 5 years after the initiation of treatment between individuals treated with AZT and those taking an alternative NRTI.
Meanwhile, we should continue to use AZT in the first-line combination therapy in HIV/AIDS patients with haemoglobin levels >8g/dl as a public health approach since the drug is cheaper and should do a continuous surveillance for development of haematological toxicity.
Instead of blocking the actions of AZT, the virus actually removes it, and it does so by using ATP, one of the most common cellular molecules.
* Following two years of protests by activists, Burroughs Wellcome lowers the price of AZT.