Retrovir (Zidovudine) Medication


Retrovir (Zidovudine)

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Retrovir is a prescribed medication utilized in conjunction with other human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs to manage HIV infection. 

Retrovir is also prescribed to HIV-positive pregnant women to minimize the risk of transmitting the infection to their infants. 

As a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), Retrovir functions by reducing HIV levels in the bloodstream. While it does not cure HIV, it may lower the risk of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related conditions like severe infections or cancer. 

Uses and Dosage 

Before starting treatment with Retrovir and with each prescription refill, carefully review its medication guide and patient information leaflet. Should you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist. 

The dosage of this medication is determined based on medical conditions and response to the treatment, considering weight in children. 

Typically, Retrovir is taken two to three times a day as prescribed by the doctor without regard to food intake. However, pregnant women may be required to take this medication up to five times daily. 

For optimal results, take this medication at evenly spaced intervals around the same times daily. 

Do not exceed or reduce the prescribed dosage of this medication or discontinue it, including other HIV medicines, unless specifically instructed by your doctor. Skipping doses or altering the regimen without medical approval can lead to increased viral levels, heightened treatment challenges (resistance), or exacerbate side effects. 

Side Effects 

Listed below are the potential adverse effects of Retrovir. Notify your doctor promptly if any of them persist or get worse. 

Common Side Effects 

  • Headache 
  • Fever, general ill feeling 
  • Cough 
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite 
  • Loss of body fat (particularly in arms, legs, face, and buttocks) 

Serious Side Effects 

  • Indications of low blood cell counts: 
    • Fever 
    • Chills 
    • Tiredness 
    • Mouth sores 
    • Skin sores 
    • Easy bruising 
    • Unusual bleeding 
    • Pale skin 
    • Cold hands and feet 
    • Feeling light-headed 
    • Short of breath 
  • Signs of Liver problems: 
    • Swelling around the midsection 
    • Right-sided upper stomach pain 
    • Loss of appetite 
    • Dark urine 
    • Clay-colored stools 
    • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) 

Inform your doctor right away if you experience any of the serious side effects above. 

Mild symptoms of lactic acidosis may deteriorate and become life-threatening. Seek immediate medical assistance if you experience the following:  

  • Unusual muscle pain 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Vomiting 
  • Irregular heart rate 
  • Dizziness 
  • Cold sensation 
  • Extreme weakness 
  • Fatigue 

Seek immediate medical assistance if you exhibit indications of a severe skin reaction such as: 

  • Fever 
  • Sore throat 
  • Burning in the eyes 
  • Skin pain 
  • A spreading red or purple skin rash leading to blistering and peeling 

Allergic Reactions 

Although rare, a severe allergic reaction to Retrovir may occur. Seek prompt medical help if you experience indications of an allergic reaction, such as: 

  • Hives 
  • Difficult breathing 
  • Swelling in the face or throat 

Not all side effects of Retrovir are included in this list. Inform your doctor immediately if any unlisted effects are experienced. 


Before taking Retrovir, inform your doctor if you have any known allergies, particularly to zidovudine or other medications. 

Consult your pharmacist for more information about Retrovir, as it may contain inactive ingredients that may trigger allergic reactions or other complications. 

To ensure Retrovir is safe for you, disclose to your physician your medical background, especially if you have a history of: 

  • Kidney problems 
  • Liver problems (e.g., hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis) 
  • Alcohol use 
  • Low red/white blood cells 

Inform all your healthcare providers about any current or newly initiated or discontinued medications, including prescription/non-prescription drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, to reduce the risk of drug interaction with Retrovir. 

Some of the products that may interact with Retrovir include:  

  • Orlistat  
  • Probenecid 
  • Ribavirin  
  • Stavudine  
  • Medications that can inhibit bone marrow function (e.g., ganciclovir, dapsone, trimethoprim, chemotherapy including doxorubicin, vincristine) 

Other medications can influence Retrovir removal from the body, potentially impacting its effectiveness. Such medication includes: 

  • Methadone  
  • Rifampin  
  • Drugs used for seizures (e.g., phenytoin, valproic acid), and others 

Retrovir should not be taken with other medications containing zidovudine. Check labels of prescriptions and consult healthcare professionals if needed. 

Retrovir should be taken at least 2 hours before or after clarithromycin to ensure proper absorption, as clarithromycin may impede the full absorption of Retrovir. 

When taking HIV medications, your immune system may improve and fight other infections, causing symptoms. Inform your doctor about any new or worsening symptoms after starting Retrovir treatment. 

Retrovir does not prevent disease transmission. Refrain from unprotected sex or sharing razors/toothbrushes. Consult your doctor about safe practices to prevent HIV transmission during sexual activity. Sharing drugs or medicine needles is never safe, regardless of one’s health condition. 

Inform your healthcare provider of your pregnancy status and ensure proper adherence to medication for infection management. Failure to control the virus during pregnancy may result in HIV transmission to your child. Registration on a database may be required to monitor the potential impacts of antiviral treatment on the infant. 

Breastfeeding is contraindicated for women with HIV or AIDS as there is a risk of transmitting the virus to the baby through breast milk, regardless of the baby’s initial HIV status. 

Additional information

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100mg, 300mg

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Quality Prescription Drugs has provided information from third parties intended to increase awareness and does not contain all the information about Retrovir (Zidovudine). Talk to your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner for medical attention, advice, or if you have any concerns about Retrovir (Zidovudine).