WASHINGTON — Federal health officials Tuesday announced that they have approved the use of the experimental drug Trimetrexate to treat pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, a life-threatening infection that frequently afflicts AIDS patients.
Federal regulations that became effective last June permit drug developers to provide promising experimental drugs to patients under certain conditions before studies on the drug's safety and efficacy have been completed.
The Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that Trimetrexate is the first AIDS-related drug to be granted such status under the regulations.
Although there are two other approved drugs to treat pneumocystis , many patients are allergic to them or experience other toxic reactions. Pneumocystis is a respiratory infection caused by a parasite that often strikes those whose immune systems are impaired, such as AIDS patients.