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Retrovir

Retrovir (zidovudine) is an anti-HIV medication. Zidovudine prevents HIV from altering the genetic material of healthy T-cells. This prevents the cells from producing new virus and decreases the amount of virus in the body.

Generic Retrovir may also be marketed as: Retrovir, Retrovis, Zidovudine

*Retrovir® is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

Uses

Generic Retrovir is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body. Generic Retrovir injection is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Generic Retrovir is also given during pregnancy to prevent an HIV-infected woman from passing the virus to her baby. Generic Retrovir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

How to take

Studies indicate that possible blood cell damage may be prevented or treated by taking vitamin E, epoeitin alpha (EPO) or G-CSF with this drug. Zidovudine is best taken on an empty stomach. If you have stomach irritation, zidovudine may be taken with food. The capsules can be broken open and mixed with food right before eating if you have trouble swallowing. Nutritionists recommend taking manganese and B vitamins with this drug.

If this medicine is prescribed every 4 hours, it is important to take it around the clock, even though it might disrupt your sleep.
Generic Retrovir must be used in combination with at least two other anti-HIV drugs.

Side effects

Long-term Generic Retrovir use is associated with loss of muscle. Other side effects can be anemia, white blood cell depression, lip, mouth and tongue sores, bone marrow damage, headaches, skin rash, itching, weakness, nervousness, dizziness, nausea, stomach pain, confusion, loss of speech or appetite, muscle aches, fever or sweating, sore throat or abnormal bruising or bleeding.

Precautions

Before you take zidovudine, tell your doctor if you have a history of anemia, bleeding or blood problems, liver or kidney disease, heart disease, major injury/surgery/infection, alcoholism, any allergies. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy.

Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Avoid breast-feeding to prevent transmission of HIV to a child that may not be infected. Zidovudine is excreted into human milk.

Drug interactions

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin);
  • ganciclovir (Cytovene);
  • interferon alfa (Alferon, Intron, Rebetron);
  • phenytoin (Dilantin);
  • ribavirin (Rebetol, Ribasphere, Copegus Virazole); or
  • drugs that weaken your immune system, such as cancer medicine, steroids, and medicines to prevent rejection of an organ transplant.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Generic Retrovir.

Missed dose
If you miss a dose, take as soon as remembered; do not take if it is almost time for the next dose, instead, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.
Storage
Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (between 15 and 30 degrees C) away from moisture and sunlight. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep away from children and pets.