Zidovudine has caused severe blood problems including a decrease in red blood cells (anemia) and white blood cells (neutropenia). They occur more frequently in people with advanced HIV disease (AIDS). Blood problems may require blood transfusions or stopping your medication. Your doctor will order blood tests to monitor for this. Keep all medical appointments. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of anemia (unusual tiredness, breathing problems, weakness, bluish fingernails/lips, pale skin, fast heartbeat). Low white blood cells can make you more likely to get serious (sometimes fatal) infections. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, persistent cough, breathing problems, or sore throat.
This medication may also cause muscle problems (myopathy). Seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of myopathy (such as wasting or decrease in muscle size, muscle weakness/pain/tenderness, weight loss).
Rarely, zidovudine 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). These serious side effects may occur more often in women and obese patients.
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. Zidovudine belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors-NRTIs.Zidovudine is used in pregnant women to prevent passing the HIV virus to the unborn baby. This medication is also used in newborns born to mothers infected with HIV to prevent infection in the newborns.Zidovudine is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during sexual activity as directed by your doctor. 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.
How to use Retrovir
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually 2 to 3 times daily. Take this medication with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters) unless your doctor directs you otherwise. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. For children, the dosage is also based on weight. Pregnant women may need to take this medication 5 times a day. Newborns are usually given the liquid form every 6 hours for 6 weeks after birth to prevent infection.
For the best effect, take this medication at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same times every day.
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.
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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.