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 have ever had an allergic reaction to Retrovir or any medicine that contains zidovudine, including Combivir or Trizivir.
Do not use Retrovir with any other medicine that contains zidovudine or stavudine, including: Combivir, Trizivir, or Zerit.
Some people develop a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while using zidovudine. You may be more likely to develop lactic acidosis if you are overweight or have liver disease, if you are a woman, or if you have taken HIV or AIDS medications for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.
Zidovudine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver. Tell your doctor if you have liver disease, especially hepatitis C.
To make sure you can safely use zidovudine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether zidovudine will harm an unborn baby. HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection.
You should not breast-feed while you are using zidovudine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.
How should I use zidovudine injection (Retrovir)?
Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Zidovudine is injected into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use an IV at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.
Zidovudine must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 1 hour to complete. Zidovudine is usually given several times per day until you are able to take the medication orally (by mouth). Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
Zidovudine must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.
Mixed medicine must be used within 24 hours if you keep it at room temperature.
You may also store the mixed medication in a refrigerator, but you must use it within 48 hours.
Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
Zidovudine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood clot. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.
HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.
Store unopened vials of zidovudine at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
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 About HIV and AIDS
- How Well Are You Living With AFib?
- How Well Are You Managing Your MS?
- Soothe Your Child's Cold or Flu