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Should Doctors Urge Patients To Take Breaks From Their Drugs?

were put onto drug cocktails soon after infection, before they produced detectable antibodies to HIV. If his trial is successful in tipping the balance in favour of the immune system, it may even be possible to cease drug treatment.

Meanwhile, Bernard Hirschel of the Geneva University Hospital is planning a similar experiment with 100 patients. This week, an ethics committee will judge whether the trial should go ahead.

AIDS doctors fear that any departure from continuous triple therapy will increase the likelihood of the virus becoming drug resistant. However, experts say the real problem is continuing with therapy but failing to take the proper doses. "It seems unlikely there should be resistance if you stop all three drugs at once," says Paul Johnson of the New England Primate Center in Southborough, Massachusetts.

Until the results of clinical trials are in, however, researchers urge caution. Luc Perrin, head of clinical virology at Geneva University Hospital, says: "We should be doing these experiments, but we should be clear that's what they are-experiments, not proven treatments."


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Contact: Claire Bowles
claire.bowles@rbi.co.uk
44-171-331-2751
New Scientist
24-Mar-1999


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