zalcitabine, Hivid - discontinued

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

GENERIC NAME: zalcitabine

BRAND NAME: Hivid (Discontinued)

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Zalcitabine 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 lamivudine (Epivir), zidovudine (Retrovir), didanosine (Videx), and stavudine (Zerit). 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 continually spreads to new, uninfected cells that the body is continually producing, and HIV infection is perpetuated. When producing new virus, 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, zalcitabine is converted within the body to its active form (dideoxycytidine triphosphate). This active form is similar to a compound (deoxycytidine triphosphate), a chemical that is used by the HIV virus to make new DNA. The reverse transcriptase uses dideoxycytidine triphosphate instead of deoxycytidine triphosphate for making DNA, and the dideoxycytidine triphosphate interferes with the action of the reverse transcriptase. Zalcitabine does not kill existing HIV virus, and it is not a cure for HIV. Zalcitabine was approved by the FDA in June 1992.

Roche discontinued sale of Hivid in the United States in December 2006 because of availability and widespread use of more useful HIV treatments. There are no generic versions.



PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 0.375, 0.75 mg

STORAGE: Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Zalcitabine is used for the treatment of HIV infection.

DOSING: The recommended dose for adults is 0.75 mg every 8 hours.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Antacids containing aluminum or magnesium (for example, Maalox) may reduce the absorption of zalcitabine leading to lower concentrations of zalcitabine in the body. This could reduce the effectiveness of zalcitabine.

Cimetidine (Tagamet) and probenecid (Benemid) increase the concentration of zalcitabine in the body. Increased levels of zalcitabine could result in more frequent or severe side effects.

PREGNANCY: Use of zalcitabine during pregnancy has not been adequately evaluated.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether zalcitabine is excreted in breast milk. HIV-infected mothers should not breastfeed because of the potential risk of transmitting HIV to an infant that is not infected.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most severe side effects are inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), liver failure, metabolic disturbance (lactic acidosis) and peripheral neuropathy (damage to sensory nerves of the extremities). Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are tingling, numbness and pain in the feet or hands. Other side effects are headache, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, mouth ulcers, painful swallowing, and difficulty sleeping.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/19/2013

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.

Pill Finder Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Back to Medications Index