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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Retrovir

Generic Name: zidovudine (oral) (Pronunciation: zye DOE vyoo deen)

What is zidovudine (Retrovir)?

Zidovudine is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Zidovudine is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Zidovudine is also given during pregnancy to prevent an HIV-infected woman from passing the virus to her baby. Zidovudine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Zidovudine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Retrovir 100 mg

blue/white, imprinted with LOGO Wellcome, Y9C 100

Retrovir 300 mg

round, white, imprinted with 300, GXCW3

Zidovudine 300 mg-ROX

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What are the possible side effects of zidovudine (Retrovir)?

Stop using this medication and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:

  • liver damage - nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • lactic acidosis - muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, nausea with vomiting, and fast or uneven heart rate;
  • pancreatitis - severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
  • peripheral neuropathy - numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, pale skin;
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
  • any other signs of new infection.

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;
  • mild nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation;
  • muscle or joint pain;
  • headache, tired feeling;
  • skin rash; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about zidovudine (Retrovir)?

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 taking 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).

Do not use zidovudine together with other combination drugs that contain zidovudine, such as Combivir or Trizivir.

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.

Taking zidovudine will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people through unprotected sex or sharing of needles. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex, such as using a condom and spermicide. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.



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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