Objective: To compare the haematological toxicity and efficacy of oral dapsone and nebulized pentamidine as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis in HIV-infected patients receiving zidovudine. Design: Randomized, prospective. Setting: Infectious diseases hospital with participants drawn from both inpatient and outpatient departments. Patients: Those eligible were starting treatment with zidovudine, needed PCP prophylaxis(CD4+ count <200 x 106/l or <20% total lymphocyte count or previous episode of PCP), and had a normal glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase screen. Of the 98 patients enrolled, 96 returned for follow-up. Interventions: Fifty patients received dapsone (100 mg orally twice weekly) and 46 pentamidine (400mg nebulized monthly). Follow-up was for a median of 18 months. Main outcome measures: The development of PCP, transfusion requirements, monthly complete blood cell counts, serious adverse reactions and death were recorded. Results: Nine (18%) dapsone and eight (17%) pentamidine recipients developed PCP. There was no significant difference in number of patients transfused (12 dapsone and nine pentamidine recipients) or transfusion-free survival. At exit from the study, mean haemoglobin (11.7 versus 12.4g/dl), white blood cell (3.9 versus 3.7 x 109/l) and platelet (195 versus 184 x 109/l) counts did not differ for the dapsone and pentamidine arms, respectively. There was no significant difference in the occurrence of serious adverse reactions (six in the dapsone and eight in the pentamidine arm). Conclusions: Dapsone can be recommended in preference to pentamidine as PCP prophylaxis on the basis of equivalent efficacy, absence of excessive haematological toxicity, low cost and ease of administration.
- Nebulized pentamidine
- Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia