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AZT (Generic Zidovudine)

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Red and white blood cells, among other blood cells, may become less abundant while using zidovudine. Inform your doctor if you currently have or have previously had any bone marrow issues, anaemia (lower-than-normal levels of red blood cells), or any other blood diseases. If you develop any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor right away: unusual bleeding or bruising, fever, chills, or other infection-related symptoms, extreme tiredness or weakness, or pale skin.

Zidovudine may also result in lactic acidosis, a condition that poses a serious risk of death, and potentially fatal liver damage (buildup of lactic acid in the blood). If you have liver illness now or ever had it, let your doctor know. Get emergency medical care if you encounter any of the following symptoms, or call your doctor right away: nausea, vomiting, pain in the upper right part of your stomach, loss of appetite, extreme exhaustion, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, fast or irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, yellowing of the skin or eyes, feeling cold, especially in the arms or legs, or muscle pain that is different from any muscle pain you typically experience.

Muscle disease may be brought on by zidovudine, particularly if it is taken for a prolonged period of time. If you have fatigue, soreness in your muscles, or weakness, call your doctor.

It’s crucial to show up for all of your appointments at the doctor’s office and the lab. To determine how well you are responding to zidovudine, your doctor will request a few lab tests.

Ask your doctor about the dangers of zidovudine use.

Why is this medication prescribed?

The drug zidovudine is used in combination with other drugs to treat HIV infection. Pregnant HIV-positive women are given zidovudine to lessen the risk of infection spreading to the unborn child. A group of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors includes zidovudine (NRTIs). It functions by lowering the level of HIV in the blood. Zidovudine may lessen your risk of contracting HIV-related diseases like serious infections or cancer and AIDS, despite the fact that it does not treat HIV. The risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to others may be reduced by taking these medications, engaging in safer sexual behavior, and changing other aspects of one’s lifestyle.

How should this medicine be used?

Zidovudine is available as a syrup, pill, and capsule for oral use. Adults often take it twice daily, while children and newborns typically take it two to three times daily. Zidovudine may be administered to infants 6 weeks of age and younger every 6 hours. Pregnant women may take zidovudine up to five times per day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Zidovudine should be taken as prescribed. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

If you experience serious side effects, your doctor might temporarily stop your treatment.

Despite not curing HIV, zidovudine manages the virus. Zidovudine should still be taken even if you feel OK. Without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking zidovudine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for extra zidovudine if your supply starts to run low. It might be more challenging to treat your disease if you skip doses or stop taking zidovudine.

Other uses for this medicine

In some circumstances, zidovudine is also used in combination with other drugs to treat HIV infection in healthcare professionals and other people who have come into contact with HIV-contaminated blood, tissues, or other bodily fluids. Discuss the potential dangers of using this medication for your illness with your doctor.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you’re interested in using this drug for any other conditions.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking zidovudine,

  • If you have an allergy to zidovudine, any other medications, or any of the other ingredients in zidovudine products, tell your doctor and pharmacist right away. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, or dietary supplements you are currently taking or intend to take. Mention any of the following: doxorubicin (Doxil), ganciclovir (Cytovene, Valcyte), interferon alfa, ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere), and stavudine while discussing cancer chemotherapy drugs (Zerit). Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • If you have kidney disease now or ever have, let your doctor know.
  • If you are breastfeeding a child or intend to become pregnant, let your doctor know. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking zidovudine. If you take zidovudine or have an HIV infection, you shouldn’t breastfeed.
  • You should be aware that your face, legs, and arms may lose body fat. If you detect this alteration, consult your physician.
  • You should be aware that when you take HIV medicine, your immune system could become stronger and start to fight other infections that were already present in your body. You might begin to exhibit signs of those infections as a result of this. Be cautious to inform your doctor if your symptoms develop or worsen after commencing zidovudine therapy.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Ignore the missed dose and carry on with my normal dosing schedule. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Zidovudine could have unwanted effects. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Stomach cramps or agony
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea (especially in children)
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms below, or any of those in the IMPORTANT WARNING section:

  • Rash
  • Skin blistering or shedding
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Breathing or swallowing challenges
  • Eye, face, tongue, lip, or throat swelling

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back program, visit the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for more information.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

Zidovudine should be kept on hand. Do not put off getting a refill on your prescription until you are out of medicine.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Retrovir®
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