Compare Emtriva vs. Retrovir

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection.

Emtriva (emtricitabine) is a first-line and commonly used drug that is taken in combination with other HIV medications to treat or prevent HIV.

Works with other drugs to treat HIV infection or prevents transmission to your baby.

Retrovir (zidovudine) is not the first choice to treat HIV because of its side effects.

Upsides
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) is a first-line drug option used in combination with other HIV medications to treat HIV.
  • Taken with or without food once a day.
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) is available in many combination tablets if you are looking to lower the number of pills you need to take daily for HIV treatment.
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) is available as a capsule as well as liquid form.
  • Retrovir (zidovudine) is safe and effective for children and infants.
  • Retrovir (zidovudine) is available in several single-pill combination tablets so you don't need to take as many pills.
Downsides
  • Patients with kidney damage will need to be closely monitored by their doctors in order to provide an appropriate dose.
  • Cannot be used by itself to treat or prevent HIV infection.
  • Retrovir (zidovudine) can cause serious blood, muscle, and liver problems.
  • Many people experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and headache when taking Retrovir (zidovudine).
  • Taking Retrovir (zidovudine) can raise your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
18possible side effects
  • Diarrhea
    23%
  • Nausea
    18%
  • Nasal stuffiness/runniness (Rhinitis)
    18%
  • Rash
    17%
  • Physical weakness and/or lack of energy
    16%
  • Increased cough
    14%
  • Headache
    13%
  • Vomiting
    9%
  • Abdominal pain
    8%
  • Insomnia
    7%
  • Depressive disorders
    6%
  • "Pins and needles" feeling (paresthesia)
    5%
  • Dyspepsia
    4%
  • Muscle pain
    4%
  • Dizziness
    4%
  • Nerve weakness/numbness/pain
    4%
  • Joint pain
    3%
  • Abnormal dreams
    2%
See more detailed side effects
12possible side effects
  • Fever
    25%
  • Cough
    15%
  • Skin rashes
    12%
  • Enlarged liver
    11%
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
    9%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    8%
  • Diarrhea
    8%
  • Nasal discharge or congestion
    8%
  • Wheezing
    7%
  • Pain in the ear
    7%
  • Swelling of the mouth
    6%
  • Enlarged spleen
    5%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Lactic acidosis | Enlarged, fatty liver
    • Liver disease
    • Women
    • Obesity
  • Worsening hepatitis B infection
    • Hepatitis B Virus infection
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV therapy
  • Similar medications
    • HIV treatment
  • Kidney Damage
    • History of kidney damage
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Blood and bone marrow problems
    • Advanced HIV
    • Anemia
    • Neutropenia
  • Muscle and kidney damage
    • Extended use of Retrovir (zidovudine)
  • Acid build-up in the blood
    • Liver disease
    • Women
    • Obesity
  • Fat redistribution
    • HIV treatment
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV therapy
See more detailed risks and warnings
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Disclaimer: We don't provide medical advice. If you think you might have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.