Compare Emtriva vs. Retrovir

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

Emtriva
(emtricitabine)

Retrovir
(zidovudine, azt, or zdv)

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 medicines to treat HIV infection. Also prevents mother-to-child sharing of HIV. AZT can be a good second-line choice to take within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class. AZT can have a number of serious side effects, but if you don't have prior blood, kidney, or liver problems, you should consider it.
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Best available price for 30 (200mg) capsules of emtricitabine
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Emtriva (emtricitabine)
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of people (All ages) say Emtriva (emtricitabine) is worth it
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say it works well
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say it's a big hassle
Have you used Emtriva (emtricitabine)?
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Reviews for Retrovir (zidovudine, azt, or zdv)
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Same vs. Emtriva (emtricitabine)
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Same vs. Emtriva (emtricitabine)
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Same vs. Emtriva (emtricitabine)
Have you used Retrovir (zidovudine, azt, or zdv)?
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Side effects
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • Diarrhea 23%
  • Nasal stuffiness/runniness (rhinitis) 18%
  • Nausea 18%
  • Rash 17%
  • Physical weakness and/or lack of energy 16%
  • Increased cough 14%
  • Headache 13%
  • Vomiting 9%
  • Abdominal pain 8%
  • Sleep difficulty 7%
More Emtriva side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Retrovir side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Retrovir »
How it works
EmtrivaRetrovir
Emtriva (emtricitabine) is a Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). It treats HIV by stopping the virus from replicating within cells in your immune system.AZT stops the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) within important cells of the body by preventing the virus from taking over normal functions of the cell for its own purposes.
Type of medication
EmtrivaRetrovir
Prescription only
Available as
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • HIV Infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • Liver disease
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Hepatitis B Virus infection
  • HIV
Detailed Emtriva (emtricitabine) risks & warnings »
  • Advanced HIV
  • Anemia
  • Neutropenia
  • Longtime use of AZT
  • Women
Detailed Retrovir (zidovudine, azt, or zdv) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Food
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • Taken with or without food once a day.
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) should be taken at the same time everyday, with or without food.
  • Take AZT with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • Patients with kidney damage will need to be closely monitored by their doctors in order to provide an appropriate dose.
  • The dose of Emtriva (emtricitabine) should be adjusted if you have poor kidney health. Your doctor will provide lab tests to ensure you are taking the appropriate dose. Be sure to attend your scheduled doctor and lab appointments in order to make sure that Emtriva (emtricitabine) is working well and safely for you.
  • Poor kidney function will affect how much AZT you can take.
  • AZT can cause this rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. Baseline blood work for kidney and liver function are helpful to see if you can use AZT. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
Pain
EmtrivaRetrovir
No pain related info.
  • Combining certain medications can increase the risk of muscle pain (myopathy), muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis), and kidney damage. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist when taking any new medications.
Upsides and benefits
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • 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.
  • AZT is provided as capsules, tablets, and syrup.
  • Used in kids and babies.
  • Take AZT with or without food.
  • AZT is included in the combination drugs Trizivir (AZT, Epivir, and Ziagen) and Combivir (AZT and Epivir), both of which are taken twice a day.
Downsides and risks
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • 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.
  • AZT may cause serious blood, muscle, and liver problems.
  • Poor kidney function will affect how much AZT you can take.
  • Allergies to AZT are rare, but very serious.
  • Need to get regular blood tests.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
EmtrivaRetrovir
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) should be taken at the same time everyday, with or without food.
  • For missed doses, take one if you remember within 12 hours of your regularly scheduled time. Don't take extra medicine or double up if you've missed a previous dose.
  • Keep your regularly scheduled doctor's and lab appointments. These help ensure your medication is working well and safely.
  • Immediately report any signs of liver problems (jaundice, dark urine, yellowing of eyes, etc.) or sensitivity reactions (rash, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, etc.) to your prescriber.
  • Don't take AZT with stavudine, another HIV drug.
  • Work with your doctor to get regular blood tests. The goal is to make sure the drug is working well and safely.
  • Keep an eye out for any new symptoms or side effects you may start to feel while taking AZT and report them to your doctor.
  • Read the Medication Guide given to you at the pharmacy about AZT since it contains helpful information.
Learn more
More about EmtrivaSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Emtriva (emtricitabine)?
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More about RetrovirSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Retrovir (zidovudine, azt, or zdv)?
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