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Experimental Attempts to Cut Back Dosages of AIDS Drugs Fail

October 29, 1998

Two experimental attempts to cut down on the 15 to 20 pills a day that HIV-infected people must take to keep AIDS at bay failed when the virus bounced back quickly in many patients. In two studies published in today's New England Journal of Medicine, researchers tried to find out what would happen if they cut back on patients' medication once the drugs had reduced the virus to almost undetectable levels.

Doctors in France and the United States took different approaches but got results so disappointing that both studies were ended early. In a study based at UC San Diego, virus levels shot up rapidly in nearly one-quarter of the patients whose medication was cut back to just one or two of the drugs. Similar results were obtained in a study at the Pasteur Institute Hospital in Paris.

Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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