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(zye doe' vue deen)Zidovudine may decrease the number certain cells in your blood, including red blood cells and white blood cells. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: unusual bleeding or bruising, fever, chills, or other symptoms of infection, unusual tiredness or weakness, or pale skin. Zidovudine also may cause life-threatening damage to the liver and a potentially life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid in the blood). The risk that you will develop lactic acidosis is higher if you are a woman, if you are overweight, and if you have been treated with medications for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for a long time. Tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol or if you have or have ever had liver disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment: nausea, vomiting, pain in the upper right part of your stomach, loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, fast or irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, dark yellow or brown urine, light-colored bowel movements, yellowing of the skin or eyes, feeling cold, especially in the arms or legs, or muscle pain that is different than any muscle pain you usually experience. Zidovudine may cause muscle disease, especially when taken for a longer period of time. Call your doctor if you have tiredness, muscle pain, or weakness. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to zidovudine. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking zidovudine.
Before taking zidovudine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to zidovudine, any other medications, or any of the other ingredients in zidovudine products. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: chemotherapy medications for cancer, doxorubicin (Doxil), ganciclovir (Cytovene), interferon alfa, ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere), and stavudine (Zerit). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking zidovudine, call your doctor. You should not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or if you are taking zidovudine.
- you should be aware that your body fat may increase or move to different areas of your body, such as your upper back, neck ("buffalo hump"), breasts, and around your stomach. You may notice a loss of body fat from your face, legs, and arms.
- you should know that while you are taking medications to treat HIV infection, your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight other infections that were already in your body. This may cause you to develop symptoms of those infections. If you have new or worsening symptoms after starting treatment with zidovudine, be sure to tell your doctor.
- stomach pain or cramps
- diarrhea (especially in children)
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- blistering or peeling of the skin
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, lips, or throat