Generic Name (active ingredient): Zidovudine
Brand Name: Retrovir

Zidovudine is an antiviral antibiotic. The preparation exerts antiviral effects. The drug is used in treatment of HIV and expresses its effect by inhibiting HIV reverse transcriptase.

How does the medication work?
The drug affects viral DNA-polymerase by inhibiting the synthesis of viral DNA and decreasing the rate of viral replication. The revers transcriptase of HIV is 20-30 times more sensitive to the effects of the Zidovudine then mammalian analogue. The drug is absorbed in the intestines and is transported through out the body, even penetrating blood-brain barrier. Half-life of the drug in the plasma is 1,1 hours, in the cells it may reach - 3 hours. 15 to 20% of zidovudine are excreted unchanged with urine, 75% are metabolized in the liver and excreted with urine. The preparation prolongs the life in HIV infected patients, decreases the frequency and severity of the disease which may appear with HIV.

When Zidovudine is prescribed?

  • The preparation is normally used in treatment of early stages of HIV infections

What should I know before taking Zidovudine?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to Zidovudine or to any other medicines such as:

  • Other reverse transcriptase inhibitors

Do not take Zidovudine if any of the below conditions apply to you:

  • Blood indexes should be monitored every 2 weeks for the period of the first 3 months of treatment. In cases of haemotological indices decline, dosage reduction or complete withdrawal of the drug may be required

Before taking Zidovudine, tell your health care provider about any other medicines you take or if you have any of the following disorders:

  • Neutropenia
  • Anemia
  • Myopathy
  • Hepatomegaly

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeed, you should take Zidovudine only under a strict control of your doctor. Zidovudine belongs to a pregnancy category C meaning that it should be used during pregnancy only in extreme cases.

How to take Zidovudine:
Zidovudine is available in the forms of capsules or injections.
The drug is normally administered in starting dosages of 200mg every 4 hours - 1200mg a day. The dosage may vary in specific conditions from 500 to 1500mg a day. The maintenance dosage is 1000mg a day taken divided by 4-5 intakes.
The unique dosage of Zidovudine in your specific case should be prescribed individually by the physician. Take the entire amount of Zidovudine prescribed by your doctor, even if you feel better before the end of the treatment.
If you missed the scheduled dose, take the medication as soon as you remember, but skip the dose if it is almost the time for the following dose. Do not take two doses at once.

What are the side effects of Zidovudine?
Zidovudine may cause the following side effects:

  • Myelosupression
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dyspepsia
  • Increased body temperature
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Paresthesia
  • Myalgia
  • Rash
  • Allergic reactions

If you experience any side effect that last long or becomes bothersome, please inform your doctor as dose adjustment or treatment discontinuation may be required.

Which are Zidovudine overdose symptoms?
If you overdose Zidovudine, seek immediate medical attention.

Which other medicines may affect Zidovudine?
Zidovudine may interact with the following groups of drugs:

  • Antifungals
  • Other antivirals
  • Uricosuric drugs

For a complete list of possible interactions ask your doctor or pharmacist. Before taking Zidovudine, let your doctor know what other medicines, including OTC, you currently take.

How should I store Zidovudine?
The preparation is normally stored by a health care provider and is administered ambulatory. The drug should be kept out of reach of children.

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