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New Warning for Pregnant Women on the Use of ddI and d4T

March 2001

A recent warning has been issued cautioning pregnant women about the use of ddI (Videx) in combination with d4T (Zerit) because of increased risk of lactic acidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition. Lactic acidosis occurs when the cells in the body cannot convert food into usable energy and as a result there is an excess accumulation of the acid that can damage different organs (primarily the liver) in the body. The new recommendation suggests that pregnant women only use this combination when the benefits may outweigh the risks and that they should be closely monitored for lactic acidosis and liver damage.

Lactic acidosis is a recently recognized side effect now believed to be associated with the nucleoside analogue drugs (AZT, ddI, d4T, 3TC, and abacavir). Several recent studies suggest that people on ddI and d4T may be more likely to develop this side effect. In early stages of lactic acidosis, people sometimes experience a shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and a pain in the gut. If any of these symptoms occur, contact your doctor as soon as possible. For more information on lactic acidosis, see Project Inform's Mitochondrial Damage and Lactic Acidosis.


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