Tanzania withdraws toxic ARV drug

Dar es salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- Tanzania has started withdrawing an anti-retovi ral drug, Stavudine, used in treatment of HIV following reports of its adverse side effects on patients, the Ministry of Health and Soci al Welfare said Wednesday.
Though the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended withdrawal of the dru g to be replaced with safer types, there are fears that available replacements, such as Tenofovir which is the second line drug in treat ing HIV, are more expensive.
Reported adverse effects of Stavudine in Tanzania included irreversible toxicity and uneven fat distribution in a patient's body.
Available statistics, however, show that over 70 percent of patients use the dru g along with other expensive types like Zidovudine and Tenofovir.
Health and Social Welfare Minister, Professor David Mwakyusa, said withdrawal of Stavudine would be gradual, but he could not confirm a deadline for its circulation or what its replacement would be.
Around two million people in Tanzania are infected with HIV and about a quarter of them are in need of ARVs, according to the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP).
NACP head of information, education and communication unit, Dr.
Bennet Fimbo, sa id only 250,000 People Living With HIV/AIDS were currently using ARVs.

30 december 2009 08:30:00




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