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Zidovudine (Intravenous route)

Pronunciation:

zye-DOE-vue-deen

Brand Names:

  • Retrovir

Dosage Forms:

  • Solution

Warnings:

Intravenous route(Solution)

Zidovudine has been associated with hematologic toxicity, including neutropenia and severe anemia, particularly in patients with advanced HIV disease. Prolonged use of zidovudine has been associated with symptomatic myopathy. Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported .

Classifications:

Therapeutic—

Antiretroviral Agent

Pharmacologic—

Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor

Uses of This Medicine:

Zidovudine (also known as AZT) injection is used in combination with other anti-virus medicines in the treatment of the infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus responsible for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Zidovudine injection is used to slow the progression of disease in patients infected with HIV who have advanced symptoms, early symptoms, or no symptoms at all. This medicine also is used to help prevent pregnant women who have HIV from passing the virus to their babies during pregnancy and at birth.

Zidovudine injection will not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS; however, it helps keep HIV from reproducing and appears to slow down the destruction of the immune system. This may help delay the development of problems usually related to AIDS or HIV disease. Zidovudine injection will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people. People who receive this medicine may continue to have the problems usually related to AIDS or HIV disease.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children—

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of zidovudine injection in children.

Older adults—

Although appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of zidovudine injection have not been performed in the geriatric population, no geriatric-specific problems have been documented to date. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems which may require caution and an adjustment of dosage in patients receiving zidovudine injection.

Pregnancy—

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersCAnimal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast-feeding—

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines—

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Amifampridine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Clarithromycin
  • Dapsone
  • Doxorubicin
  • Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
  • Flucytosine
  • Ganciclovir
  • Interferon Alfa
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Pyrimethamine
  • Ribavirin
  • Stavudine
  • Vinblastine
  • Vincristine
  • Vincristine Sulfate Liposome

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Acetaminophen
  • Fluconazole
  • Interferon Beta-1a
  • Methadone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Probenecid
  • Rifabutin
  • Rifampin
  • Rifapentine
  • Tipranavir
  • Valproic Acid

Other interactions—

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems—

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Blood problems (e.g., anemia, neutropenia, or pancytopenia) or
  • Bone marrow problems or
  • Muscle disorder—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Kidney disease or
  • Liver disease—Effects may be increased because of slow removal of zidovudine injection from the body.

Proper Use of This Medicine:

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.

Your doctor may give you a few doses of this medicine until your condition improves, and then you may be switched to an oral medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is very important that your doctor check you or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Do not receive this medicine if you are also using any combination medicines that also contain zidovudine (e.g., Combivir® or Trizivir®). To do so may increase the amount of zidovudine in your body which may cause serious side effects. Also, do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Zidovudine injection may cause blood problems. These problems may result in a greater chance of certain infections and slow healing. Therefore, you or your child should be careful when using regular toothbrushes, dental floss, and toothpicks not to damage your gums. Check with your medical doctor or dentist if you have any questions about proper oral hygiene (mouth care) during treatment.

Check with your doctor if you have muscle pain, tenderness, wasting, or unusual tiredness or weakness while you are receiving this medicine.

Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity, which includes an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms: abdominal discomfort or cramping; dark urine; decreased appetite; diarrhea; general feeling of discomfort; light-colored stools; muscle cramping or pain; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; trouble breathing; vomiting; or yellow eyes or skin.

When you or your child start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you have infections that are hidden in your body (e.g., pneumonia or tuberculosis), you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, tell your doctor right away.

You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you may give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.

Zidovudine injection does not decrease the risk of transmitting the HIV infection to others through sexual contact or by contamination through blood. HIV may be spread to others through infected body fluids, including blood, vaginal fluid, or semen. If you are infected, it is best to avoid any sexual activity involving an exchange of body fluids with other people. If you do have sex, always wear (or have your partner wear) a condom (“rubber”). Only use condoms made of latex or polyurethane and use them every time you have contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. Also, do not share needles with anyone or use dirty needles. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
Abdominal pain
black, tarry stools
chills
cough
feeling of fullness
fever
lower back or side pain
painful or difficult urination
pale skin
right upper abdominal pain and fullness
shortness of breath
sore throat
swelling or inflammation of the mouth
swollen lymph nodes
ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
wheezing
Less common
Troubled breathing with exertion
Incidence not known
Abdominal discomfort
back, leg, or stomach pains
bleeding gums
blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
bloating
blood in the urine
blurred vision or other change in vision
bone pain
burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
burning, tingling, numbness or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
clay-colored stools
constipation
cough or hoarseness
convulsions
dark-colored urine
decreased appetite
decreased urine output
diarrhea
difficult or labored breathing
difficulty in moving
difficulty in swallowing
dilated neck veins
dizziness
extreme fatigue
fainting
fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
fast, shallow breathing
general body swelling
general feeling of discomfort or illness
general tiredness and weakness
headache
high fever
hives
increased need to urinate
indigestion
irregular breathing
irritation or soreness of the mouth
joint or muscle pain
lack of coordination
large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
light-colored stools
loss of appetite
muscle pain or cramping
muscle spasm or stiffness
muscular pain, tenderness, wasting, or weakness
nausea or vomiting
nosebleeds
pain
pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
passing urine more often
puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
red, irritated eyes
redness, soreness, or itching skin
runny nose
sensation of pins and needles
shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
shivering
skin rash
sleepiness
sores, welting, or blisters
stabbing pain
sweating
swollen joints
swollen or painful glands
tightness in the chest
trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
trouble sleeping
unexplained bleeding or bruising
unpleasant breath odor
vomiting of blood
weight gain
yellowing of the eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Lack or loss of strength
Incidence not known
Acid or sour stomach
actions that are out of control
belching
bloated
change in taste or bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
changes in skin color
difficulty seeing at night
discouragement
dizziness or lightheadedness
excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
fear or nervousness
feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
feeling sad or empty
hearing loss
heartburn
impaired vision
increased sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight
irritability
itching skin
loss of interest or pleasure
mood or mental changes
pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
passing gas
redness of the skin
sensation of spinning
sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
sleeplessness
sneezing
stuffy nose
swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males
talking, feeling, and acting with excitement
trouble concentrating
unable to sleep
weight loss

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 11/4/2014

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