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- What is didanosine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for didanosine?
- Is didanosine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for didanosine?
- What are the side effects of didanosine?
- What is the dosage for didanosine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with didanosine?
- Is didanosine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about didanosine?
What is didanosine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Didanosine is an oral medication that is used for the treatment of infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is in a class of drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors which also includes zalcitabine (Hivid), zidovudine (Retrovir), stavudine (Zerit), and lamivudine (Epivir). During infection with HIV, the HIV virus multiplies within the body's cells. The newly-formed viruses then are released from the cells and spread throughout the body where they infect other cells. In this manner, the infection spreads to new, uninfected cells that the body is continually producing, and HIV infection is perpetuated. When producing new viruses, the HIV virus must manufacture new DNA for each virus. Reverse transcriptase is the enzyme that the virus uses to form this new DNA. Specifically, didanosine is converted within the body to its active form (dideoxyadenosine triphosphate). This active form is similar to a chemical, deoxyadenosine triphosphate, that is required by the HIV virus to make new DNA. The reverse transcriptase uses dideoxyadenosine triphosphate instead of deoxyadenosine triphosphate for making DNA, and the dideoxyadenosine triphosphate that interferes with the reverse transcriptase. Didanosine does not kill existing HIV virus and it is not a cure for HIV. The FDA approved didanosine in October 1991.
What brand names are available for didanosine?
Videx, Videx EC
Is didanosine available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for didanosine?
What are the side effects of didanosine?
The most severe side effects of didanosine are:
- inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis),
- liver failure, and
- nerve damage in the arms and legs (peripheral neuropathy).
Other important side effects include:
Quick GuideHIV AIDS Facts: Symptoms and Treatments
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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