Drugs A - Z

Zidovudine Oral syrup

It is used with other medicines to treat HIV

Generic Name: zidovudine

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, ZDV (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:
  • anemia
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • low blood 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?

Take this medicine by mouth with a full glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. You may take this medicine with or without food. Use a specially marked spoon or dropper to measure each dose. Ask your pharmacist if you do not have one. Household spoons are not accurate. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. For your anti-HIV therapy to work as well as possible, take each dose exactly as prescribed. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine even if you feel better. Skipping doses may make the HIV virus resistant to this medicine and other medicines. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

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?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • doxorubicin
  • fluconazole
  • ganciclovir
  • interferon
  • other zidovudine medicines
  • phenytoin
  • ribavirin
  • 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.

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
  • 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
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusually weak or tired

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

  • constipation
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • weight gain around waist, back, or thinning of face, arms, legs

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees C (59 and 77 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

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
Licensed from
The Healthline Site, its content, such as text, graphics, images, search results, HealthMaps, Trust Marks, and other material contained on the Healthline Site ("Content"), its services, and any information or material posted on the Healthline Site by third parties are provided for informational purposes only. None of the foregoing is a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Healthline Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Please read the Terms of Service for more information regarding use of the Healthline Site.
Advertisement