Zidovudine is a drug to treat HIV infection. This drug can also be used to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from pregnant women to their fetuses. For maximum treatment results, zidovudine is often combined with other antiviral drugs.

Zidovudine works by inhibiting the reverse transcriptase enzyme that the HIV virus uses to reproduce itself. The HIV virus attacks the immune system and makes the body susceptible to infection. Zidovudine can reduce the number of HIV viruses and improve the work of the immune system.

It should be noted that this drug cannot cure HIV/AIDS, but is limited to slowing the development of symptoms and the risk of complications due to weak immune systems, such as AIDS . This drug also does not reduce the risk of HIV transmission through sexual intercourse or needles.

Zidovudine trademarks: Duviral, Lamivudine-Zidovudine, ZDV, Zidovudine

What is zidovudine

class Prescription drug
Category Antiviral nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)
Benefit Slowing the development of HIV, and preventing the transmission of HIV from infected pregnant women to their babies
Consumed by Adults and newborns
Zidovudine for pregnant and lactating women Category C: Studies in animals have shown an adverse effect on the fetus, but there have been no controlled studies in pregnant women. Drugs should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.

It should be noted that the HIV virus can be transmitted to the fetus if the infected mother does not take antiviral drugs during pregnancy.

Zidovudine can be absorbed into breast milk. However, mothers who have HIV infection should not breastfeed to prevent transmission. Therefore, giving zidovudine can be done unless there are other obstacles.

Drug form Tablets, capsules and caplets

Precautions Before Taking Zidovudine

Zidovudine should not be used carelessly. There are several things that you should pay attention to before using this drug, including:

  • Do not take zidovudine if you have an allergy to this drug. Tell your doctor about any allergies you have.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or currently have kidney disease , muscle disorders, osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis , obesity, liver disease, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or cirrhosis .
  • Tell your doctor if you have bone marrow disorders, anemia, or a deficiency of folic acid or vitamin B12.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages while undergoing treatment with this drug. Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol frequently or suffer from alcohol addiction.
  • Tell your doctor that you are taking zidovudine if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking other medicines, including supplements or herbal products, to avoid drug interactions.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or are breastfeeding.
  • Immediately go to the doctor if you have a drug allergic reaction or serious side effects after taking zidovudine.

Dosage and Rules for Use Zidovudine

Zidovudine is only given on doctor's advice. The following are zidovudine dosages based on their intended use:

Purpose: Treat HIV infection

  • Adults and children weighing ≥30 kg: 300 mg, twice daily, in combination with another antiviral drug, such as lamivudine
  • Children weighing 22–30 kg: 200 mg, 2 times a day
  • Children 14–21 kg: 100 mg given in the morning and 200 mg given at night
  • Children weighing 8–13 kg: 100 mg, 2 times a day

Goal: Prevent the transmission of HIV infection from pregnant women to the fetus

  • Adult: 100 mg, 5 times a day, given from 14 weeks of gestation until just before delivery

Purpose: To prevent HIV infection in newborns

  • Infants: 2 mg/kg, every 6 hours, starting 12 hours after the baby is born and continuing for 6 weeks

How to Take Zidovudine Correctly

Always follow the doctor 's recommendations and read the instructions for use listed on the package before taking zidovudine.

Zidovudine can be taken before or after meals. Swallow zidovudine tablets or caplets with water. Try to take zidovudine at the same time every day for maximum benefits.

Keep taking this drug even if you feel well or have experienced improvement in HIV symptoms. Do not reduce the dose or stop taking the drug without consulting your doctor. This can cause the amount of the HIV virus to increase again so that this viral infection will be more difficult to control.

Do not increase your zidovudine dose without your doctor's advice. This will not increase the effectiveness of the drug, but it can increase the risk of side effects.

If you forget to take zidovudine, consume it immediately if the break with the next schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore the missed dose and do not double the next dose.

Consult a doctor regularly while undergoing treatment with zidovudine. This is to monitor your body's condition and response to treatment.

Store zidovudine indoors at room temperature and away from heat and moisture. Close the drug packaging tightly after use and keep it out of reach of children.

Zidovudine Interactions with Other Drugs

The use of zidovudine together with other drugs can cause interactions between drugs, including:

  • Increased risk of fatal liver damage when taken with peginterferon alfa-2b
  • Increased risk of side effects from blood disorders (anemia, thrombocytopenia , or leukopenia ) when taken with cancer drugs, such as vincristine, vinblastine, or doxorubicin
  • Increased risk of side effects from blood disorders when taken with amphotericin, ganciclovir , dapsone, pyrimethamine , or co- trimoxazole
  • Increased risk of anemia when taken with ribavirin in patients with hepatitis C
  • Decrease or loss of effectiveness of zidovudine when taken with rifampicin
  • Increased risk of side effects of zidovudine when taken with probenecid, atovaquone, valproic acid , fluconazole or methadone
  • Decreased effectiveness of zidovudine when taken with clarithromycin or doxorubicin
  • Decreased effectiveness of each other when used with stavudine
  • Decreased or increased levels of phenytoin in the blood

Zidovudine Side Effects and Dangers

Zidovudine can cause a number of side effects, including:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Nauseous vomit
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hands, feet, face or buttocks appear smaller due to fat loss

Check with your doctor if the side effects above don't go away or get worse. Immediately see a doctor if an allergic drug reaction occurs .

The use of zidovudine can affect the ability of the immune system. See a doctor immediately if more serious side effects or immune system disorders occur, such as:

  • Anemia, which can be characterized by pale skin, fatigue, shortness of breath, or frequent dizziness
  • Thrombocytopenia, which can be characterized by easy bruising, frequent bleeding gums, nosebleeds , or bleeding that is difficult to stop
  • Symptoms of infection, such as fever, excessive sweating during sleep, swollen glands, sores or blisters on the lips and mouth ( oral herpes ), coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, or weight loss
  • Liver problems, which can be characterized by a swollen stomach, pain in the right upper abdomen, dark urine, pale stools, or yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking, impaired eye movement, balance disturbances, or feeling weak
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck or throat (you can feel it as a neck lump), changes in your menstrual cycle, or impotence
Back to blog