Drugs A - Z

Zidovudine Solution for injection

It is used with other medicines to treat HIV

Generic Name: zidovudine injection

Brand Names: Retrovir

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

  • Hematologic toxicity reported, particularly in patients with advanced disease. (See Hematologic Effects under Cautions.)
  • Symptomatic myopathy reported. (See Musculoskeletal Effects under Cautions.)
  • Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis (including some fatalities) reported rarely in patients receiving nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) alone or in conjunction with other antiretrovirals. (See Lactic Acidosis and Severe Hepatomegaly with Steatosis under Cautions.)
  • If using Trizivir®, consider that abacavir has been associated with serious and sometimes fatal hypersensitivity reactions.

What is this medicine?

ZIDOVUDINE (zye DOE vue deen) is an antiretroviral medicine. It is used with other medicines to treat HIV. This medicine is not a cure for HIV. It will not stop the spread of HIV to others.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • low blood counts, like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to zidovudine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for infusion into a vein. It is given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as newborns for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • atovaquone
  • doxorubicin
  • fluconazole
  • ganciclovir
  • interferon
  • methadone
  • nelfinavir
  • other zidovudine medicines
  • phenytoin
  • probenecid
  • ribavirin
  • rifampin
  • ritonavir
  • stavudine, d4T
  • valproic acid

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. Discuss any new symptoms with your doctor. You will need to have important blood work done while on this medicine.

HIV is spread to others through sexual or blood contact. Talk to your doctor about how to stop the spread of HIV.

This medicine can cause blood problems. You may have slow healing and a higher risk of infection while on this medicine. Try to avoid cutting or injuring yourself. Be careful not to damage to your teeth and gums when you brush or floss your teeth.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • changes in emotions or moods
  • changes in hearing
  • dizziness
  • fever or chills, sore throat
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • nausea, vomiting, unusual stomach upset or pain
  • pain or difficulty swallowing
  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • seizures
  • trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusually weak or tired
  • weight gain around waist, back, or thinning of face, arms, legs
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • changes in skin or nail color
  • constipation
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • unusual taste in the mouth

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


Last Updated: September 15, 2009
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