zidovudine (injection)

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zidovudine (injection)

Pronunciation:zye DOE vyoo deen
Brand:Retrovir

What is the most important information I should know about zidovudine injection?

emtZidovudine 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.
emtZidovudine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms while using 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).
donotDo 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.

Using 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.

What is zidovudine injection?

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

Zidovudine injection 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 purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using zidovudine injection?

donotDo not use this medication if you are allergic to zidovudine, or if you are using any other drugs that contain zidovudine, such as Combivir or Trizivir.

Before using zidovudine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • liver disease; or
  • bone marrow suppression.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use zidovudine or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

emtZidovudine 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.
emtZidovudine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms while using 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).
nopregFDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. HIV can be passed to the baby if the mother is not properly treated during pregnancy. Use all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection while you are pregnant.

Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using zidovudine. The purpose of this registry is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and delivery to evaluate whether zidovudine had any effect on the baby.

nobrfeedYou should not breast-feed while you are using zidovudine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.

How should I use zidovudine injection?

Use this medication exactly as your doctor has prescribed it for you. Do not use more of the medication than recommended. Do not use zidovudine for longer than your doctor has prescribed. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Zidovudine is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may be given instructions on how to inject your medicine at home. Do not use this medicine at home if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of needles and other items used in giving the medicine.

Zidovudine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and can take up to an hour to complete.

Use each needle and syringe only one time. Throw away used needles and syringes in a puncture-proof container. If your medicine does not come with such a container, ask your pharmacist where you can get one. Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets. Your pharmacist can tell you how to properly dispose of the container.

It is important to use zidovudine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

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.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Zidovudine injection must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before injecting it.

rtAfter mixing the medication, you may store it at room temperature if it is used within 24 hours.
refigYou may also store the mixed medication in a refrigerator, but you must use it within 48 hours.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and use the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

emtSeek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of a zidovudine overdose may include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, headache, or weakness.

What should I avoid while using zidovudine injection?

noalcoholAvoid drinking alcohol while using zidovudine. Alcohol may increase the risk of damage to the liver.

Using 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.

What are the possible side effects of zidovudine injection?

emtStop 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;
  • 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:

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

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect zidovudine injection?

Before using zidovudine, tell your doctor if you are also using:

  • atovaquone (Mepron);
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin);
  • fluconazole (Diflucan);
  • ganciclovir (Cytovene);
  • interferon-alfa (Roferon, Intron, Rebetron);
  • methadone (Dolophine, Methadose);
  • nelfinavir (Viracept);
  • phenytoin (Dilantin);
  • probenecid (Benemid);
  • ribavirin (Rebetol, Ribasphere, Copegus Virazole);
  • ritonavir (Norvir); or
  • stavudine (Zerit).

There may be other drugs that can affect zidovudine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist has information about zidovudine written for health professionals that you may read.


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.

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