zidovudine (injection) (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using zidovudine injection (Retrovir)?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to zidovudine, or if you are using any other drugs that contain zidovudine, such as Combivir or Trizivir.
Before using zidovudine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use zidovudine or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.
Zidovudine may cause lactic acidosis (the build up of lactic acid in the body). Lactic acidosis symptoms can start slowly and gradually get worse. Symptoms include unusual muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing, fast or uneven heart rate, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and numbness or cold feeling in your arms or legs. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal.
Zidovudine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms while using zidovudine: nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. HIV can be passed to the baby if the mother is not properly treated during pregnancy. Use all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection while you are pregnant.
Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using zidovudine. The purpose of this registry is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and delivery to evaluate whether zidovudine had any effect on the baby.
You should not breast-feed while you are using zidovudine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.
How should I use zidovudine injection (Retrovir)?
Use this medication exactly as your doctor has prescribed it for you. Do not use more of the medication than recommended. Do not use zidovudine for longer than your doctor has prescribed. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Zidovudine is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may be given instructions on how to inject your medicine at home. Do not use this medicine at home if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of needles and other items used in giving the medicine.
Zidovudine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and can take up to an hour to complete.
Use each needle and syringe only one time. Throw away used needles and syringes in a puncture-proof container. If your medicine does not come with such a container, ask your pharmacist where you can get one. Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets. Your pharmacist can tell you how to properly dispose of the container.
It is important to use zidovudine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
Zidovudine injection must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before injecting it.
After mixing the medication, you may store it at room temperature if it is used within 24 hours.
You may also store the mixed medication in a refrigerator, but you must use it within 48 hours.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Resources for Staying Well
- HIV-AIDS: Myths and Facts
- Understanding The Symptoms of AIDS/HIV
- The Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions About HIV and AIDS