Two-Drug Regimen Yields Higher Quality of Life, Study Finds
Although triple therapy antiretroviral regimen of zidovudine, didanosine and nevirapine stimulates a "superior" virologic and immunologic outcome in HIV patients compared to zidovudine and didanosine alone, the two-drug regimen is associated with a higher quality of life, according to an Italian study published in the Nov. 10 issue of AIDS. Dr. Raffaella Bucciardini and colleagues at the Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome performed randomized trials involving 68 "antiretroviral naive" patients with advanced HIV given either the two-drug or three-drug combination. The patients were surveyed about their mental and physical health several times over the course of the 24-week study. Both groups had comparable quality of life scores at the outset, and although both groups' scores improved, by week eight the two-drug group yielded a higher quality of life over the other large enough to be of "clinical significance." Those patients receiving the two-drug therapy also gained more weight and increased their Karnofsky scores, but not enough to be "statistically significant." Researchers noted, however, that the two-drug regimen brings a possibility of drug resistance that would make most physicians "reluctant" to prescribe it, and that the quality-of-life improvements do not necessarily outweigh the triple therapy's "superior virologic effect" ( Reuters Health/JAMA HIV/AIDS Information Center, 12/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.