Uses Of Zidovudine

Zidovudine is one of several medications used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). As a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), it helps decrease the amount of HIV in the blood. Zidovudine cannot cure HIV, but it may decrease your chances of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses (e.g., cancer, life-threatening). If taken during pregnancy, it can risk the risk of passing HIV to the baby. In addition to taking medications like Zidovudine, making certain life-style changes and practicing safer sex decreases risk of passing the HIV virus on to others.

Side Effects Of Zidovudine

Zidovudine may cause side effects. Contact your physician of the following symptoms persist or are severe:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea (especially in children)
  • difficulty staying or falling asleep
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • stomach pain or cramping

Immediately seek treatment if you experience the following:

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking zidovudine:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to any medications (including zidovudine) or to any of the ingredients in zidovudine. (Your pharmacist can provide a list of the ingredients if necessary.)
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist about any medications (prescription or over-the-counter) and supplements you are taking. It is especially important to mention medications for cancer, doxorubicin (Doxil), ganciclovir (Cytovene, Valcyte), interferon alfa, ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere), and stavudine (Zerit).
  • tell your doctor if you suffer from (or have ever suffered from) kidney disease.
  • tell your doctor if you plan to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Call you doctor immediately if you become pregnant while taking zidovudine. In addition, you should not breastfeed if you have HIV or are taking zidovudine.
  • you should know that you may lose body fat in your face, arms, and legs.
  • you should know that  taking medications to treat HIV may strengthen your immune system, causing you to develop symptoms of other infections that were already in your body. Consult your doctor if you develop new or worsening symptoms after beginning treatment.

Dosage of Zidovudine

Zidovudine is prescribed as a capsule, tablet, or syrup to be taken orally. It is often taken twice twice daily adults (except for pregnant women, who may take it up to 5 times a day) and 2 or 3 times a day by infants and children. Infants no more than 6 weeks old may take zidovudine every 6 hours. Be sure to take zidovudine exactly as directed by your doctor.

Serious side effects may result in a temporary stoppage of treatment.

Zidovudine controls but does not cure HIV, take the medication even if you feel fine. If you skip doses or stop taking it, treating your condition may become more difficult to treat.


Do not wait until your prescription has run out to refill your medication. Always have a supply on hand.