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 immediately 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 Zerit?
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 medication may also be used in combination with other HIV medications to reduce the risk of getting HIV infection after contact with the virus. Consult your doctor for more details.
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.
See also Warning section.
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 immediately 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.
In the US -
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.
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.
See also Warning section.
The effects of some drugs can change if you take other drugs or herbal products at the same time. This can increase your risk for serious side effects or may cause your medications not to work correctly. These drug interactions are possible, but do not always occur. Your doctor or pharmacist can often prevent or manage interactions by changing how you use your medications or by close monitoring.
To help your doctor and pharmacist give you the best care, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) before starting treatment with this product. While using this product, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any other medicines you are using without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: doxorubicin, interferon, methadone, ribavirin, zidovudine, drugs that can cause nerve problems (such as isoniazid, vincristine, didanosine).
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
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.
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.
Store the bottles in the refrigerator between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C). Discard any unused solution and its bottle 30 days after the date of mixing. Keep all medicines 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 for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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