Skip to content
    Drugs & Medications

    stavudine

    STAVUDINE SOLUTION

    COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Zerit

    GENERIC NAME(S): STAVUDINE

    WARNINGS:

    Rarely, stavudine has caused a severe (sometimes fatal) pancreas problem (pancreatitis) when used alone or with other HIV medicines. Immediately tell your doctor if you develop symptoms of pancreatitis (persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal/back pain).

    Rarely, stavudine has caused a severe (sometimes fatal) liver and blood problem (lactic acidosis). Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver problems (persistent nausea, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin) or lactic acidosis (rapid breathing, drowsiness, muscle aches). Pregnant women with HIV may be more likely to have this problem. Liver and pancreas problems may be more likely if stavudine is used in combination with hydroxyurea and/or another HIV medicine (didanosine).

    Who should not take stavudine?
    See More

    Uses

    This drug is used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life. Stavudine belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI).

    Stavudine is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

    OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.

    This product may also be used to lessen the risk of HIV infection after contact with the virus (for example, due to a needle stick). Ask your doctor for more details.

    How to use stavudine

    Read the Medication Guide and the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using stavudine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

    Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually every 12 hours or as directed by your doctor. Shake the bottle well before measuring each dose. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/cup. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.

    The dosage is based on your weight, medical condition, and response to treatment.

    This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.

    It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses. Refill your medication before you run out.

    Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.

    Side Effects

    See also Warning section.

    Headache or diarrhea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

    Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

    Some people may experience worsening of a previous medical condition (such as an old infection) as their immune systems improve, or develop new conditions because their immune systems have become overactive. This reaction may occur at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: unexplained weight loss, persistent muscle aches/weakness, joint pain, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs, severe tiredness, vision changes, severe/persistent headaches, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores), signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (such as difficulty breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, slurred speech).

    This medication can cause severe nerve problems in the hands/feet/legs (peripheral neuropathy). Symptoms may include numbness/tingling/pain, muscle weakness, or decreased muscle control. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away so that you can be monitored closely. Your doctor may decide to reduce or stop your dose of stavudine.

    Changes in body fat (such as increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs) may occur while you are taking HIV medication. 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.

    A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

    This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

    In the US -

    Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

    In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

    Precautions

    Before taking stavudine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

    Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: pancreatitis, kidney problems, liver problems (such as hepatitis, cirrhosis), nerve problems (such as peripheral neuropathy), alcohol use, gall bladder problems (such as gall stones).

    Avoid alcoholic beverages because they may increase your risk for liver problems and/or pancreatitis.

    This product may contain sugar. Caution is advised if you have diabetes or any other condition that requires you to limit sugar in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.

    Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

    Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, caution is advised when using this drug in older adults because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the increased risk of nerve problems.

    During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. However, it is now normal to prescribe HIV medicines for pregnant women with HIV. This has been shown to decrease the risk of giving HIV to the baby. Stavudine may be part of that treatment. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

    It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

    Interactions

    See also Warning section.

    Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

    Some products that may interact with this drug include: doxorubicin, zidovudine, drugs that can cause nerve problems (such as isoniazid, vincristine, didanosine).

    Overdose

    If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

    Notes

    Do not share this medication with others.

    Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as kidney tests, liver tests, viral load, T-cell counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

    Keep all medical and laboratory appointments.

    Missed Dose

    If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

    Storage

    Store the bottles in the refrigerator. Discard any unused solution and its bottle 30 days after the date of mixing. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

    Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

    Information last revised May 2016. Copyright(c) 2016 First Databank, Inc.

    Images

    ZERIT 15 MG CAPSULE
    ZERIT 15 MG CAPSULE
    View Larger Picture
    color
    light yellow
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    BMS 1964, 15
    STAVUDINE 15 MG CAPSULE
    STAVUDINE 15 MG CAPSULE
    View Larger Picture
    color
    pink
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    M 154, M 154
    ZERIT 20 MG CAPSULE
    ZERIT 20 MG CAPSULE
    View Larger Picture
    color
    light brown
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    BMS 1965, 20
    STAVUDINE 20 MG CAPSULE
    STAVUDINE 20 MG CAPSULE
    View Larger Picture
    color
    pink
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    M 155, M 155
    ZERIT 30 MG CAPSULE
    ZERIT 30 MG CAPSULE
    View Larger Picture
    color
    light orange
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    BMS 1966, 30
    STAVUDINE 30 MG CAPSULE
    STAVUDINE 30 MG CAPSULE
    View Larger Picture
    color
    light orange
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    M 137, M 137
    ZERIT 40 MG CAPSULE
    ZERIT 40 MG CAPSULE
    View Larger Picture
    color
    dark orange
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    BMS 1967, 40
    STAVUDINE 40 MG CAPSULE
    STAVUDINE 40 MG CAPSULE
    View Larger Picture
    color
    light orange
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    M 138, M 138
    ZERIT 15 MG CAPSULE
    ZERIT 15 MG CAPSULE

    Identification

    color
    light yellow
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    BMS 1964, 15
    This medicine is a light yellow, oblong capsule imprinted with "BMS 1964" and "15".
    STAVUDINE 15 MG CAPSULE
    STAVUDINE 15 MG CAPSULE

    Identification

    color
    pink
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    M 154, M 154
    This medicine is a pink, oblong capsule imprinted with "M 154" and "M 154".
    ZERIT 20 MG CAPSULE
    ZERIT 20 MG CAPSULE

    Identification

    color
    light brown
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    BMS 1965, 20
    This medicine is a light brown, oblong capsule imprinted with "BMS 1965" and "20".
    STAVUDINE 20 MG CAPSULE
    STAVUDINE 20 MG CAPSULE

    Identification

    color
    pink
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    M 155, M 155
    This medicine is a pink, oblong capsule imprinted with "M 155" and "M 155".
    ZERIT 30 MG CAPSULE
    ZERIT 30 MG CAPSULE

    Identification

    color
    light orange
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    BMS 1966, 30
    This medicine is a light orange, oblong capsule imprinted with "BMS 1966" and "30".
    STAVUDINE 30 MG CAPSULE
    STAVUDINE 30 MG CAPSULE

    Identification

    color
    light orange
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    M 137, M 137
    This medicine is a light orange, oblong capsule imprinted with "M 137" and "M 137".
    ZERIT 40 MG CAPSULE
    ZERIT 40 MG CAPSULE

    Identification

    color
    dark orange
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    BMS 1967, 40
    This medicine is a dark orange, oblong capsule imprinted with "BMS 1967" and "40".
    STAVUDINE 40 MG CAPSULE
    STAVUDINE 40 MG CAPSULE

    Identification

    color
    light orange
    shape
    oblong
    imprint
    M 138, M 138
    This medicine is a light orange, oblong capsule imprinted with "M 138" and "M 138".

    Add to Cabinet

    Add Adderall to my medicine cabinet.

    Did you know?

    With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.

    Go to medicine cabinet

    Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

    CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

    More about Drugs and Medications

    Newsletters

    Subscribe to free WebMD newsletters.

    • WebMD Daily

      WebMD Daily

      Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD.

    • Men's Health

      Men's Health

      Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD.

    • Women's Health

      Women's Health

      Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD.

    By clicking Submit, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.

    URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices