Didanosine

Didanosine (ddI, Videx) is an adenosine analogue with activity against HIV-1, HIV-2, and HTLV-I. It is approved as part of a multidrug regimen for the therapy of HIV infection and is also used as postexposure HIV prophylaxis.

The most common adverse effect produced by di-danosine is diarrhea. Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and dose-related peripheral neuropathy may occur. Pancreatitis occurs rarely, as do hyperuricemia, bone marrow suppression, retinal depigmentation, and optical neuritis. Resistance to didanosine appears to result from mutations different from those responsible for zidovudine resistance.

Didanosine should be used with great caution in individuals who have a history of pancreatitis. Didanosine tablets contain phenylalanine and should not be taken by phenylketonurics. Didanosine should be used cautiously in patients with gout, peripheral neuropathy, and advanced AIDS.

Buffering agents that are compounded with didano-sine to counteract its degradation by gastric acid may interfere with the absorption of other drugs that require acidity (e.g., indinavir, delavirdine, ketoconazole, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, dapsone). An enteric-coated formulation (Videx EC) that dissolves in the basic pH of the small intestine is not susceptible to these interactions. Ganciclovir and valganciclovir can increase blood levels of didanosine. The use of zalcitabine with didano-sine is not recommended because that combination carries an additive risk of peripheral neuropathy. The combination of didanosine with stavudine increases the risk of pancreatitis, hepatotoxicity, and peripheral neuropa thy. Stavudine should not be given with didanosine to pregnant women because of the increased risk of metabolic acidosis.

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