- What is zidovudine? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for zidovudine?
- What are the side effects of zidovudine?
- What is the dosage for zidovudine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with zidovudine?
- Is zidovudine safe to take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should you know about zidovudine?
What is zidovudine? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
Zidovudine (formerly called azidothymidine [AZT]), a pyrimidine nucleoside analogue active against HIV. RETROVIR IV Infusion is a sterile solution
for intravenous infusion only. Each mL contains 10 mg zidovudine in Water for Injection. Hydrochloric acid and/or sodium hydroxide may have been added to adjust the pH to approximately 5.5. RETROVIR IV Infusion contains no preservatives. The chemical name of zidovudine is 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine.
What are the side effects of zidovudine?
The most severe side effects of ziovudine are
- a decrease in blood cells,
- muscle pain (myopathy),
- enlarged liver,
- and metabolic disturbance (lactic acidosis).
Other side effects are
- severe headache,
- nausea, and
- weight loss.
Warning Retrovir (zidovudine) has been associated with hematologic toxicity, including neutropenia and severe anemia, particularly in patients with advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease (see warnings). Prolonged use of Retrovir has been associated with symptomatic myopathy. Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogues alone or in combination, including Retrovir and other antiretrovirals.
What is the dosage for zidovudine?
- For the treatment of HIV infection the recommended oral dose for adults is 100 mg every 4 hours. The intravenous dose is 1 to 2 mg/kg every 4 hours.
- For children 3 months to 12 years old, the oral starting dose is 180 mg/m2 every 6 hours not to exceed 200 mg every 6 hours.
- Infants should be given 2 mg/kg orally every 6 hours within 12 hours of birth and for 6 weeks or 1.5 mg/kg intravenously every 6 hours.
- To prevent HIV transmission from mother to fetus, the dose is 100 mg five times daily or 200 mg three times daily.
- Treatment should be initiated between the 14th and 34th weeks of pregnancy and continued until the time of labor.
- During labor and delivery, 2mg/kg should be administered intravenously over 1 hr followed by 1 mg/kg/hr until the umbilical cord is clamped.
Is zidovudine safe to take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Zidovudine is used for preventing transmission of the HIV virus from mother to fetus.
- Although it is not known whether zidovudine is excreted in breast milk, HIV infected mothers should not breast feed because of the potential risk of transmitting HIV to an infant that is not infected.
Retrovir (zidovudine, ZDV, formerly called AZT) is a medication (oral and injectable) prescribed for the treatment of infections with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Side effects include insomnia, diarrhea, weight loss, confusion, dizziness, rash, chills, and severe headache. Drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information, and dosing should be reviewed before taking any medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection left untreated causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a type of virus called a retrovirus, which can infect humans when it comes in contact with tissues that line the vagina, anal area, mouth, or eyes, or through a break in the skin. HIV infection is generally a slowly progressive disease in which the virus is present throughout the body at all stages of the disease. Three stages of HIV infection have been described. The initial stage of infection (primary infection), which occurs within weeks of acquiring the virus, often is characterized by the flu- or mono-like illness that generally resolves within weeks. The stage of chronic asymptomatic infection (meaning a long duration of infection without symptoms) lasts an average of eight to 10 years without treatment. The stage of symptomatic infection, in which the body's immune (or defense) system has been suppressed and complications have developed, is called the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The symptoms are caused by the complications of AIDS, which include one or more unusual infections or cancers, severe loss of weight, and intellectual deterioration (called dementia). When HIV grows (that is, by reproducing itself), it acquires the ability to change (mutate) its own structure. These mutations enable the virus to become resistant to previously effective drug therapy. The goals of drug therapy are to prevent damage to the immune system by the HIV virus and to halt or delay the progress of the infection to symptomatic disease. Therapy for HIV includes combinations of drugs that decrease the growth of the virus to such an extent that the treatment prevents or markedly delays the development of viral resistance to the drugs. The best combination of drugs for HIV are those that effectively suppress viral replication in the blood and also are well tolerated and simple to take so that people can take the medications consistently without missing doses.
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)
AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. Symptoms and signs of AIDS include pneumonia due to Pneumocystis jiroveci, tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, seizures, weakness, meningitis, yeast infection of the esophagus, and Kaposi's sarcoma. Anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) is used in the treatment of AIDS.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- HIV-AIDS FAQs
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Antiretroviral Therapy - Guidelines
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Baby "Cured" of HIV Infection
Medications & Supplements
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Drug Interactions
- abacavir, Ziagen
- lamivudine (3tc) (Epivir; Epivir HBV)
- What Are NRTIs in Antiretroviral Therapy For HIV Infection?
- efavirenz (Sustiva)
- didanosine (Videx, Videx EC)
- delavirdine (Rescriptor)
- nevirapine (Viramune, Viramune XR)
- Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine)
- abacavir, lamivudine, zidovudine (Trizivir)
- stavudine (Zerit)
- Side Effects of Retrovir (zidovudine [ZDV])
Prevention & Wellness
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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.