AZT

Warning

Zidovudine has caused severe blood problems including a decrease in red blood cells (anemia) and white blood cells (neutropenia). They occur more frequently in people with advanced HIV disease (AIDS). Blood problems may require blood transfusions or stopping your medication. Your doctor will order blood tests to monitor for this. Keep all medical appointments. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of anemia (unusual tiredness, breathing problems, weakness, bluish fingernails/lips, pale skin, fast heartbeat). Low white blood cells can make you more likely to get serious (sometimes fatal) infections. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, persistent cough, breathing problems, or sore throat.

This medication may also cause muscle problems (myopathy). Seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of myopathy (such as wasting or decrease in muscle size, muscle weakness/pain/tenderness, weight loss).

Rarely, zidovudine has caused a severe (sometimes fatal) liver and blood problem (lactic acidosis). Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of liver problems (persistent nausea, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin) or lactic acidosis (rapid breathing, drowsiness, muscle aches). These serious side effects may occur more often in women and obese patients.

Precautions

Before taking zidovudine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis), alcohol use, low red/white blood cells.

Liquid products may contain sugar. Caution is advised if you have diabetes or any other condition that requires you to limit sugar in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.

Before having surgery, tell your doctors or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. Treatment can lower the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

This medication passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

Side Effects

See also Warning section.

Headache, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, or loss of appetite may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

As your immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including: unexplained weight loss, severe tiredness, muscle aches/weakness that doesn't go away, headaches that are severe or don't go away, joint pain, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs, vision changes, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores), signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking).

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as depression, anxiety, confusion), easy bruising/bleeding, skin/fingernail color changes.

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: seizures.

Loss of body fat (such as in the face, arms, legs, and buttocks) may occur while you are taking this medication. This effect may be permanent. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in body fat.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

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Information expires December 2020.