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zidovudine (oral) (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking zidovudine (Retrovir)?

Do not take this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to Retrovir or any medicine that contains zidovudine, including Combivir or Trizivir.

Do not take 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 taking 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 take zidovudine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • kidney disease;
  • anemia (low red blood cell count);
  • an active infection;
  • bone marrow suppression; or
  • if you have used an HIV medication in the past, such as abacavir (Ziagen), didanosine (Videx), emtricitabine (Atripla, Complera, Emtriva, Truvada), lamivudine (Combivir, Epivir, Epzicom, Trizivir), stavudine (Zerit), tenofovir (Viread), or zidovudine (Retrovir).

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of zidovudine on the baby.

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 take zidovudine (Retrovir)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Zidovudine can be taken with or without food.

If a child is taking this medication, tell your doctor if the child has any changes in weight. Zidovudine doses are based on weight in children.

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.

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.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

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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