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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Simpler Way of Preventing Common AIDS Disease Found, Scientists Say

August 08, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

A once-weekly dose of the antibiotic azithromycin is a simpler, more effective way of preventing disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease in AIDS patients than the current regimen of daily doses of rifabutin, according to UC San Diego researchers. About 40% of AIDS victims develop MAC unless they are treated prophylactically with antibiotics. The disease affects internal organs, causing fever, night sweats, diarrhea, anorexia and wasting.

Dr. Diane V. Havlir and her colleagues reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that weekly dosages of azithromycin reduced the incidence of MAC by half compared to rifabutin. A combination of the two drugs reduced the incidence by 72% compared to rifabutin alone.

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