Side effects of AZT prophylaxis after occupational exposure to HIV-infected blood
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It was the objective of this study to document and evaluate AZT-induced short-term toxicity in healthy individuals. The study was designed as a longitudinal monocentric side-effect monitoring study with prospective data collection. It was carried out at the Cologne University Hospital. The study population comprised health care workers who were taking AZT prophylaxis after accidental exposure to HIV-infected blood. Fourteen individuals were included into the study; seven of them discontinued treatment prematurely, five due to severe subjective symptoms. In case of one worker AZT had to be stopped due to severe neutropenia (800 cells /μl) with signs of upper respiratory tract infection. Four of 11 individuals taking AZT for at least 4 weeks developed neutropenia (2 WHO I, 1 WHO II, 1 WHO III). All other laboratory parameters stayed within normal range. In particular, no anemia was observed. In conclusion: Compared with other studies more neutropenias are observed. Due to side effects 50% of the workers discontinued AZT administration prematurely. The data presented herein show that AZT causes considerable side effects which must be weighed against the potential protective antiviral effect.
Key wordsAZT prophylaxis Side effects Occupational exposure Neutropenia
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