Why is this medication prescribed?
Zidovudine is used alone or with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in patients with or without acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It will slow the spread of HIV infection in the body. Zidovudine is not a cure and may not decrease the number of HIV-related illnesses. Zidovudine does not prevent the spread of HIV to other people except when given to HIV-positive pregnant women. Zidovudine is given to HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent the infection from going to the baby. However, HIV infection may still occur in the infant despite this treatment.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Zidovudine comes as a capsule, tablet, and syrup to take by mouth. It is usually taken three to four times a day. In some cases it may be taken five times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take zidovudine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Continue to take zidovudine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking zidovudine without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Zidovudine also is used to treat health care workers and other individuals exposed to HIV infection after accidental contact with HIV-contaminated blood, tissues, or other body fluids. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking zidovudine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to zidovudine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially acetaminophen, acyclovir (Zovirax), aspirin, cimetidine (Tagamet), fluconazole (Diflucan), foscarnet (Foscavir), ganciclovir (Cytovene), indomethacin (Indocin), interferon, lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax), probenecid (Benemid), valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease, any disease or swelling of the muscle, anemia, a history of alcohol abuse, or bleeding or other blood problems.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking zidovudine, call your doctor.
- tell your doctor if you drink alcohol.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Zidovudine should be taken at least 30 minutes before or 1 hour after a meal. You should take it sitting up with plenty of water.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Side effects from zidovudine are common. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- diarrhea or loose stools
- difficulty sleeping
If you experience the following symptom, or any of those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.