Enteric coated didanosine significantly reduces nausea, bloating, GI upset

Graham McKerrow, HIV i-Base

Enteric-coated didanosine (Videx EC) significantly reduces nausea, bloating, GI upset, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and gas, according to a study, using patient symptom scores recorded in diaries.

Didanosine EC capsules, which contain enteric coated beadlets that are absorbed in the small intestine, are better tolerated than the original buffered tablet formulation of the nucleoside transcriptase inhibitor, according to the study.

Dr Laureen Kunches, who led the research said she conducted the study because clinicians and patients needed to know, in real-world conditions, how side effect experiences of the new didanosine EC formulation compared with previously available forms of the drug.

In a six-week open-label trial researchers at Boston-based John Snow Inc Clinical Research evaluated the frequency and magnitude of gastrointestinal side effects in 42 adults with HIV infection before and after they switched to didanosine EC from the buffered form of didanosine. All of them had GI symptoms of at least -moderate severity – while taking the buffered tablet.

-All 42 study subjects preferred the EC form, – the researchers report in the October 1 issue of the Journal of AIDS. Switching to didanosine EC led to significant reductions in nausea, bloating, GI upset, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and gas, according to the patient symptom diaries.

Dr Kunches said the study leads her to believe that didanosine can now be considered for a wider group of patients, including those who might be sensitive to GI upset or diarrhoea.

People making treatment regimen decisions will not have to be faced with either the substantial GI issues or the unpleasant taste of the original forms of didanosine, Dr Kunches added. These improvements should also improve adherence to treatment and appear to justify the additional price for the EC form, she said.


Kunches LM, Reinhalter NE, Marquis A et al. Tolerability of enteric-coated didanosine capsules compared with didanosine tablets in adults with HIV infection. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 2001 Oct 1;28(2):150-3. Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11588508&dopt=Abstract

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.