Stavudine is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Stavudine is in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although stavudine 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 life-style changes may decrease the risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to other people.
Side Effects Of Stavudine
Stavudine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or does not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience the following symptoms or any of those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the hands or feet
- difficulty moving your hands and feet
Stavudine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking stavudine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to stavudine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in stavudine capsules or oral solution. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients or check the medication guide.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and doxorubicin, hydroxyurea (Droxia, Siklos), ribavirin (Rebetol, Ribasphere), or zidovudine (Retrovir, in Combivir, inTrizivir). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you more carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you are receiving dialysis treatments or if you have or have ever had kidney disease, diabetes, or peripheral neuropathy (a type of nerve damage that causes tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking stavudine, call your doctor. You should not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or if you are taking stavudine.
- you should know that stavudine may cause side effects that must be treated right away before they become serious. Children who are taking stavudine may not be able to tell you about the side effects they are feeling. If you are giving stavudine 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, and arms. 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 stavudine, be sure to tell your doctor.
- if you have diabetes, you should know that there are 50 mg of sucrose in each teaspoon (5 mL) of stavudine oral solution.
Dosage Of Stavudine
Stavudine comes as a capsule and as an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day (every 12 hours), with or without food and with plenty of water. To help you remember to take stavudine, take it at around the same times each day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take stavudine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you are giving the oral solution to a child, shake the bottle well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use the measuring cup provided to measure the child’s dose.
Stavudine controls HIV infection but does not cure it. Continue to take stavudine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking stavudine without talking to your doctor. When your supply of stavudine starts to run low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist. If you miss doses or suddenly stop taking stavudine, 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 stavudine 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.