Zidovudine also known as azidothymidine, is an antiGeneric Retroviral medication used to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.
Generic name: Zidovudine
Brand names: Retrovir, AZT, ZDV
Why Zidovudine is prescribed
Generic Retrovir is prescribed for adults infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV causes the immune system to break down so that it can no longer respond effectively to infection, leading to the fatal disease known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Generic Retrovir slows down the progress of HIV. Combining Generic Retrovir with other drugs such as Epivir and Crixivan can help slow the progression.
Generic Retrovir is also prescribed for HIV-infected children over 3 months of age who have symptoms of HIV or who have no symptoms but, through testing, have shown evidence of impaired immunity.
Generic Retrovir taken during pregnancy often prevents transmission of HIV from mother to child.
Signs and symptoms of HIV disease are significant weight loss, fever, diarrhea, infections, and problems with the nervous system.
The long-term effects of treatment with zidovudine are unknown. However, treatment with Zidovudine may lead to blood diseases, including granulocytopenia (a severe blood disorder characterized by a sharp decrease of certain types of white blood cells called granulocytes) and severe anemia requiring blood transfusions. This is especially true in women, individuals who are overweight, people who have been using Zidovudine for a long time, people with more advanced HIV, and those who start treatment later in the course of their infection.
Also, because Generic Retrovir is not a cure for HIV infections or AIDS, those who are infected may continue to develop complications, including opportunistic infections (exotic infections that develop when the immune system falters). Therefore, frequent blood counts by your doctor are strongly advised. Notify your doctor immediately of any changes in your general health.
Take Zidovudine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not share Zidovudine with anyone and do not exceed your recommended dosage. Take it at even intervals every 4 hours around the clock (children every 6 hours).
If you are pregnant, take the drug 5 times a day.
If you have forgotten to take a dose, take it as soon as you recall. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one and get back to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses right away.
Tablets, capsules, and syrup should be stored at room temperature; keep capsules away from moisture.
Side effects may be caused by Zidovudine
A drug cannot anticipate producing side effects. If any develop or change in intensity, let your doctor know as soon as possible. Your doctor only can determine whether it is safe for you to continue taking Generic Retrovir.
The frequency and severity of side effects associated with the use of Generic Retrovir are greater in people whose infection is more advanced when treatment is started. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish side effects from the underlying signs of HIV disease or the infections caused by HIV.
- More common possible effects include:
Cough, diarrhea, difficult or labored breathing, ear pain, discharge or swelling, enlarged liver, enlarged spleen, fever, general feeling of illness, headache, loss of appetite, mouth sores, nausea, nasal discharge or congestion, rash, swollen lymph nodes, vomiting
When Zidovudine should not be prescribed
If you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to Generic Retrovir or any of its ingredients, you should not take Zidovudine.
This drug has been studied for only a limited period of time. Long-term safety and effectiveness are not known, especially for people who are in a less advanced stage of AIDS or AIDS-related complex (the condition that precedes AIDS), and for those using the drug over a prolonged period of time.
Generic Retrovir can cause an enlarged liver and the chemical imbalance known as lactic acidosis. This serious and sometimes fatal side effect is more likely in women, people who are overweight, and those who have been taking drugs such as Generic Retrovir for an extended period. Signs of lactic acidosis include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, and a feeling of unwellness. Contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Treatment with Generic Retrovir may have to be discontinued.
If you develop a blood disease, you may require a blood transfusion, and your doctor may reduce your dose or take you off the drug altogether. Make sure your doctor monitors your blood count on a regular basis.
The use of Generic Retrovir has not been shown to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination or to nursing infants.
Generic Retrovir should be used with extreme caution by people who have a bone marrow disease.
Some people taking Generic Retrovir develop a sensitization reaction, often signaled by a rash. If you notice a rash developing, notify your doctor.
Contact your doctor immediately if you develop shortness of breath, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, or any unexpected problems while being treated with Generic Retrovir.
Because little data are available concerning the use of Zidovudine in people with impaired kidney or liver function, check with your doctor before using Generic Retrovir if you have either problem.
Like other HIV drugs, Generic Retrovir sometimes causes a redistribution of body fat, resulting in added weight around the waist, a “buffalo hump” of fat on the upper back, breast enlargement, and wasting of the face, arms, and legs. It’s not known why this occurs, or what long-term effects it might have.
Food and drugs that may interact with Zidovudine
If you take Generic Retrovir with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is extremely important to check with your doctor before combining Generic Retrovir with any of the following:
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin, a cancer drug)
Interferon (Intron A, Roferon-A)
Phenytoin (Dilantin, a seizure medication)
Probenecid (Benemid, an antigout drug)
Valproic acid (Depakene, a seizure medication)
Do not take Generic Retrovir with Combivir or Trizivir, which contain the same active ingredient.
Special precautions if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
The effects of Generic Retrovir during pregnancy are under study. Use during pregnancy has been shown to protect the developing baby from contracting HIV. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, let your doctor know immediately.
Since HIV can be passed on through breast milk to a nursing infant, do not breastfeed your baby.
All dosages of Generic Retrovir must be very closely monitored by your physician. The following dosages are general; your physician will tailor the dose to your specific condition.
Tablets, Capsules, and Syrup
The usual dose of Generic Retrovir, in combination with other HIV drugs, is 600 milligrams a day, divided into smaller doses.
If you are pregnant, the usual dosage is 100 milligrams in capsules, tablets, or syrup 5 times a day, beginning at 14 weeks of pregnancy, until you go into labor. You will then be given the drug intravenously until the baby is born. The baby will get Generic Retrovir every 6 hours until it is 6 weeks old.
The usual starting dose for children 6 weeks to 12 years of age is determined by body size. While the dose should not exceed 200 milligrams every 8 hours, it must still be individually determined. The drug is given along with other HIV medications.
Any drug taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
- Some symptoms of Generic Retrovir overdose are listed below:
Fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting