Didanosine is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Didanosine is in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood.

Although didanosine does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other lifestyle changes may decrease the risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to other people.

Side Effects Of Didanosine

Didanosine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if this symptom is severe or does not go away:

  • headache

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those mentioned in the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:

Didanosine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking didanosine:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to didanosine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in didanosine capsules or oral solution. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor if you are taking allopurinol (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim), or ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Virazole). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take didanosine if you are taking one or both of these medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the medications listed in the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section and the following: antacids containing aluminum or magnesium (Maalox, Mylanta, others): antifungals such as itraconazole (Sporanox) and ketoconazole; atazanvir (Reyataz); antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), ofloxacin (Floxin), pentamidine (Nebupent, Pentam), sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra), and tetracycline (Sumycin); cabazitaxel (Jevtana); dapsone (Aczone); delavirdine (Rescriptor); docetaxel (Taxotere); ganciclovir (Cytovene); hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea); indinavir (Crixivan); methadone (Dolophine, Methadose); nelfinavir (Viracept); paclitaxel (Abraxane, Taxol); pentamidine (Nebupent, Pentam); ranitidine (Zantac); ritonavir (Norvir); sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra). tenofovir (Viread); tipranavir (Aptivus); valganciclovir (Valcyte); or vincristine (Marqibo). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications, change when you are taking your medications, or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with didanosine, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling, burning, or pain sensation in your hands or feet, or decreased ability to feel temperature or touch in your hands or feet) or kidney disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking didanosine, call your doctor. You should not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or if you are taking didanosine.
  • you should know that didanosine may cause side effects that must be treated right away before they become serious. Children who are taking didanosine may not be able to tell you about the side effects they are feeling. If you are giving didanosine to a child, ask the child’s doctor how you can tell if the child is having these serious side effects.
  • you should know that you may have a loss of body fat from your face, legs, arms, and buttocks. Talk to your doctor if you notice this change.
  • you should know that while you are taking medications to treat HIV infection, your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight other infections that were already in your body. This may cause you to develop symptoms of those infections. If you have new or worsening symptoms after starting treatment with didanosine, be sure to tell your doctor.

Didanosine Dosage

Didanosine comes as extended-release (long-acting) capsules and as an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth. The oral solution is usually taken once or twice a day 30 minutes before or 2 hours after eating. The extended-release capsules are usually taken once a day on an empty stomach. Take didanosine around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take didanosine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

If you are using the extended-release capsules, swallow them whole; do not split, chew, crush, break, or dissolve them. Tell your doctor if you are unable to swallow the extended-release capsules whole.

If you are taking the oral solution, you should shake it well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use a dose-measuring spoon or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid for each dose, not a regular household spoon.

Didanosine controls HIV infection but does not cure it. Continue to take didanosine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking didanosine without talking to your doctor. If you miss doses or stop taking didanosine, your condition may become more difficult to treat.


Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

Keep a supply of didanosine on hand. Do not wait until you run out of medication to refill your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.