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Glutamines curb diarrhea in AIDS patients
  By David Douglas
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Treatment with glutamine or alanyl-glutamine helps reduce diarrhea and improve absorption of antiretroviral drugs in patients with AIDS, US and Brazilian researchers report in the June 15th issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.
As senior investigator Dr. Richard L. Guerrant told Reuters Health, in providing effective antiretroviral therapy, it's important to understand "the potential role of enteric infections and diarrheal illnesses and their control, especially where safe drinking water and sanitation are inadequate."
Dr. Guerrant of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville and colleagues, who note that more than 60% of Brazilian HIV patients initially present with diarrhea, conducted a study of 41 people with AIDS in that country. The patients had diarrhea and wasting.
All tested at baseline showed low levels of antiretroviral agents two hours after administration. The subjects were randomized to receive glutamine, high- or low-dose alanyl- glutamine, or to a control group who were given glycine.
At the end of the 7-day study, gastrointestinal symptom scores improved in evaluated patients given glutamine or high-dose alanyl-glutamine. Antiretroviral drug levels also rose in those treated with glutamine or alanyl-glutamine.
The researchers thus conclude that treatment with glutamine or its more stable derivative, alanyl-glutamine, "may enhance antiretroviral drug therapy and reduce the emergence of drug resistance" in such patients.
Clin Infect Dis 2004;38:1764-1770.

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