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Zidovudine (By mouth)

Zidovudine (zye-DOE-vue-deen)

Treats HIV infection. This medicine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but combinations of drugs may slow progress of the disease.

Brand Name(s):

Retrovir

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to zidovudine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Tablet, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to take and how often. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup.
  • Zidovudine is taken with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed as part of your combination treatment.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose.
  • Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store this medicine at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze the oral liquid.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using dapsone, fluconazole (Diflucan®), flucytosine (Ancobon®), ganciclovir (Cytovene®), interferon alfa (Intron®), pyrazinamide, ribavirin (Rebetron®), valproic acid (Depakene®), or any medicine to treat cancer.
  • Tell your doctor about all other HIV medicines you are using, especially stavudine (Zerit®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, anemia, pancreas problems, or a muscle disorder.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.
  • Do not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS. The infection may be given to your baby through your breast milk.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Extreme weakness, tiredness, or confusion
  • Fever, chills, sore throat
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • Rapid breathing or trouble breathing, nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, lightheadedness
  • Yellow skin or eyes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild stomach pain
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 12/4/2014


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