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FDA approves AIDS combination pill

Updated:
WASHINGTON (AP) _ In the latest effort to trim the number of pills HIV-infected patients swallow, the government on Wednesday approved Glaxo Wellcome's Trizivir _ a combination of the company's older AIDS drugs AZT, 3TC and abacavir.

Glaxo already sold an AZT-3TC combination under the brand name Combivir. Adding the third drug to create Trizivir means patients could swallow two pills a day instead of the four needed for Combivir plus abacavir.

However, the three drugs are from an older family of AIDS drugs called nucleoside analogs. The most-recommended AIDS therapy today is a a newer drug, called a protease inhibitor, plus two nucleoside analogs.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a stern warning while approving Trizivir: About 5 percent of people who try abacavir, also known as Ziagen, suffer a serious, sometimes fatal, allergic reaction _ so people trying the new Trizivir run the same risk.

Do not take Trizivir if you have experienced hypersensitivity symptoms _ fever, skin rash, fatigue, nausea, vomiting or trouble breathing _ after taking Ziagen, FDA warned. Patients will receive a symptom warning brochure, and doctors should report hypersensitivity cases by calling 1-800-270-0425.

Glaxo said Trizivir will be available next month and cost $26.60 a day, the same price as the three drugs separately.

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