SA still giving out toxic d4T to patients

2010-01-11 00:00

DESPITE recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to phase out anti-retroviral Stavudine (d4T) because of its long-term side effects, the country is still administering the drug.

The world health body recommended the adaptation of Zidovudine (AZT) or Tenofovir (Dts), which are said to be less toxic. Some of the side-effects mentioned are lipodystrophy and lactic acidosis.

Skills Development Officer for Treatment Action Campaign Lawrence Mbalati described lipodystrophy as fat loss from the face, buttocks and limbs.

Lactic acidosis is described as an illness caused when lactic acid is not eliminated from the body and instead builds up in the blood and cells, causing abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and muscle weakness.

In the province there are about 336 000 people who are on anti-retrovirals and 305 000 of those are active collectors.

Provincial health spokesman Chris Maxon confirmed last Tuesday that d4T remains part of the province’s treatment guideline.

He said in response to the cases with adverse side effects reported at the dosage of 40 milligrams, the department has put patients on the 30 milligrams dosage.

“The treatment protocol will be reviewed around March this year and as a province we would be obliged to adhere to the nationally agreed protocol,” Maxon said.

“It [d4T] remains a cornerstone of treatment in resource limited settings due to lack of alternatives. It must be remembered that one of the considerations in its introduction initially was the fact that it is relatively cheap and does not interact with most other opportunistic infections, including Tuberculosis,” he said.

Mbalati also acknowledged the side-effects of d4T.

However, he raised the concern that warehouses are still full of stock and that tenders to produce it have not expired.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.