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is AZT toxic
Mar 1, 2009

To Dr. Franscino: My Hiv specialist told me that over a period of time AZT can be toxic as it builds up in a persons system. My question is, is this true, and if it is true, why even use a drug that over time can prove to be toxic?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Either you didn't quite understand what your HIV specialist was trying to convey to you or the physician you are seeing really isn't much of an HIV specialist! AZT does not "build up in a person's system" over time. AZT, like a great many other drugs, can have short- and long-term side effects as well as toxicities. Common AZT side effects would be anemia (which can come on rapidly after starting the drug) and lipoatrophy (a more long-term consequence). Why do we use drugs that have side effects and toxicities? That's easy. It's better than the consequences of uncontrolled HIV replication. As new, better-tolerated and less toxic HIV medications have been developed and become available, our use of AZT has significantly decreased.

Dr. Bob


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