Find & Manage Your Patient Assistance Programs
Estimated patient savings $600,000,000.00
RETROVIR
ZIDOVUDINE (AZT) - ORAL

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.

ZIDOVUDINE (AZT) - ORAL

(zye-DOE-view-deen)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Retrovir

WARNING: Rarely, this medication has caused severe, sometimes fatal, liver and blood problems (e.g., lactic acidosis, granulocytopenia, anemia), especially in people with advanced HIV infection. Prolonged use of zidovudine has caused muscle aches similar to those produced by HIV. Notify your doctor immediately if you have: dark urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal or stomach pain, unusual fatigue, muscle aches, rapid breathing, drowsiness, symptoms of infection such as persistent fever or sore throat.

Uses

Zidovudine is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor antiviral agent used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. It works by slowing the growth of the virus. It is not a cure for HIV and does not prevent the passing of HIV to others. This medication is also used in pregnant women to prevent spreading the virus to the fetus.

OTHER

Uses

This medication may also be used to prevent HIV after coming in contact with the virus.

How To Use

Take this medicine exactly as your doctor prescribed. If this medicine is prescribed every 4 hours, it is important to take it around the clock, even though it might disrupt your sleep. Frequently it is prescribed less often than every 4 hours and in combination with other anti-HIV drugs.

Side Effects

This medication may cause headache, trouble sleeping, muscle soreness, nausea or discoloration of finger and toe nails as your body adjusts to the medication. Inform your doctor if these symptoms persist or become severe. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience: fever, chills, sore throat, unusual tiredness, weakness, pale skin (anemia), lack of coordination, unusual bleeding or bruising, abdominal discomfort, difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, dark urine, muscle aches, yellowing eyes/skin. Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (e.g., increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs). The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss the risks and benefits of therapy with your doctor, as well as the possible role of exercise to reduce this side effect. In the unlikely event you have an allergic reaction to this drug, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, breathing trouble. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions

Before you take zidovudine, tell your doctor if you have a history of: anemia, bleeding or blood problems, liver or kidney disease, heart disease, major injury/surgery/infection, alcoholism, any allergies. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Avoid breast-feeding to prevent transmission of HIV to a child that may not be infected. Zidovudine is excreted into human milk.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of any over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking, especially: ganciclovir, dapsone, ribavirin, fluconazole, interferon, methadone, aspirin, probenecid, rifamycins, acetaminophen, cimetidine, valproic acid, indomethacin, lorazepam, oxazepam, phenytoin, amphotericin B, co-trimoxazole, doxorubicin, flucytosine, pentamidine, atovaquone, vinblastine, vincristine (drugs that suppress the bone marrow). Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion.

Notes

Blood tests will probably be done on a regular basis to monitor how well the medicine is working. This medication is very potent and should not be shared.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is within 2 hours of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. It is important not to miss doses of this drug.

Storage

Store at room temperature between 59 to 77 degrees F (15 to 25 degrees C) and keep away from moisture and sunlight. Do not store in the bathroom.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).