Zerit has been approved for the treatment of infants and children infected with HIV. Zerit for Oral Solution is a fruit-flavored powder in bottles providing 200mL of a 1mg/mL stavudine solution upon constitution with water.
A number of clinical trials are underway to determine the safety and efficacy of Zerit in combination with other HIV/AIDS treatments, including nucleoside analogues and protease inhibitors.
In a recently completed AIDS Clinical Trials Group Study (ACTG 240), Zerit was compared with AZT for initial treatment of HIV-infected children. Children receiving stavudine experienced better weight gain, and their absolute CD4+ lymphocyte counts were better maintained than children taking AZT. Subjects in the d4T group encountered significantly fewer episodes of low white blood cell counts compared to the AZT group.
Zerit is a nucleoside analogue that inhibits the action of reverse transcriptase, a vital enzyme the AIDS virus uses to reproduce itself.
According to the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, an estimated 20,000 children nationwide are infected with HIV. More than 7,000 of these children, under age 13, have AIDS, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.