Zidovudine is used along with other medicines to treat HIV infections. It can also be used in combination with other active ingredients to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from mother to child during pregnancy.


What is Zidovudine?

Zidovudine works by blocking the reproduction of HIV.


How should Zidovudine be taken?

Zidovudine should be administered directly into a vein by a medical professional.  It can also be taken orally in the form of tablets, capsules or syrup.


Side effects associated with Zidovudine

Zidovudine can be associated with severe side effects in the bone marrow, especially in cases of HIV infection at an advanced stage. Therefore, it is important to inform the doctor in case of anemia or infection. Prolonged use of Zidovudine can also result in muscle pain. Lastly, it has been associated with:


  • Lactis acidosis (more frequent among obese patients, women and prolonged treatment with certain medications against HIV)
  • Serious liver problems
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome ( a severe skin reaction)


Among the other possible side effects of zidovudine include the following:


  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness


It is also important to contact a doctor immediately if you experience:


  • Rash
  • Urticaria
  • Itch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
  • Muscle pain, cramps or weakness
  • Persistent fever, cough, or sore throat
  • Decreased or painful urination
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sluggishness,
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Feeling cold
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stools
  • Persistent or severe loss of appetite
  • Persistent nausea
  • Persistent stomach pain


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Zidovudine

During treatment with Zidovudine, it is necessary to avoid contact with people struggling with infections.


Before starting treatment with Zidovudine, it is important to tell your doctor if:


  • You have any allergies to the active substance, its excipients or any other drugs or food
  • You are taking any other medications, herbal remedies or supplements. Mentioning in particular: doxorubicin, ribavirin, stavudine, ganciclovir or any other medication containing Zidovudine
  • You are suffering (or have suffered) from the bone marrow problems, lactic acidosis, kidney problems, pancreatitis, Hepatitis C, cirrhosis or other liver disorders
  • You have had alcohol abuse problems
  • You are currently on dialysis
  • You are overweight
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding