The Food and Drug Administration today approved the use of the drug AZT to treat children with AIDS. It is the only drug that has been shown to extend the lives of adults with the deadly disease.
New labeling on the drug outlines dosage recommendations for patients aged 3 months to 12 years who have the disease or show symptoms of advanced infection with the virus that causes it.
Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan said the new labeling "means the drug is now officially considered to be a standard therapy for children with AIDS." He said the new status should encourage insurance companies to reimburse patients for pediatric use of the drug.
The FDA has been under pressure to approve AZT for treatment of children, particularly from parents of stricken children who have no other recourse. An advisory committee of outside experts voted 7 to 1 on March 30 to recommend the new pediatric labeling.