Administration of 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine, an inhibitor of HTLV-III/LAV replication, to patients with AIDS or AIDS-related complex

Lancet. 1986 Mar 15;1(8481):575-80. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(86)92808-4.


In a 6-week clinical trial 4 dose regimens of 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (AZT), a thymidine analogue with potent anti-viral activity against HTLV-III in vitro, were examined in 19 patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or AIDS-related complex (ARC). AZT was given intravenously for 2 weeks, then orally for 4 weeks at twice the intravenous dose. AZT was well absorbed from the gut and crossed the blood-brain barrier. Therapeutic levels were maintained with 5 mg given intravenously or 10 mg given orally every 4 h. Treatment was not limited by side-effects, the commonest of which were headaches and depression of white-cell counts. 15 of the 19 patients had increases in their numbers of circulating helper-inducer T lymphocytes (p less than 0.001) during therapy, 6 who were anergic at entry showed positive delayed type hypersensitivity skin test reactions during treatment, 2 had clearance of chronic fungal nailbed infections without specific anti-fungal therapy, 6 had other evidence of clinical improvement, and the group as a whole had a weight gain of 2.2 kg. Also, with the highest dose regimen cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells for HTLV III became negative.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology
  • Administration, Oral
  • Body Weight
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Deltaretrovirus / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lymphocytes
  • Male
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / complications
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / complications
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • Thymidine / administration & dosage
  • Thymidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Thymidine / therapeutic use
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*
  • Zidovudine


  • Zidovudine
  • Thymidine