Compare Ziagen vs. Retrovir

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

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection.

Ziagen (abacavir) is a first-choice medication that is used with others to treat HIV. It's important that your doctor test you for allergic reactions to Ziagen (abacavir) before starting the medication.

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
  • Ziagen (abacavir) is found in many other combination tablets.
  • Ziagen (abacavir) has few drug interactions.
  • People whose kidneys are not working as well can still take Ziagen (abacavir) without having to change its dose.
  • Kids 3 months and older can use Ziagen (abacavir).
  • 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
  • Ziagen (abacavir) can increase your risk of heart attack.
  • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.
  • Severe allergic reactions have happened in some patients taking Ziagen (abacavir). Your doctor will test you for any possible risk of reaction before starting Ziagen (abacavir).
  • 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
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Reviews
Not enough review data.Leave a review
Not enough review data.Leave a review
Side effects
21possible side effects
  • Nausea
    19%
  • Headache
    13%
  • Fatigue and discomfort
    12%
  • Dreams/sleep disorders
    10%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    10%
  • Severe allergic reactions
    9%
  • Fever and/or chills
    9%
  • Headaches/migraine
    7%
  • Diarrhea
    7%
  • Skin rashes
    7%
  • Rashes
    6%
  • Stomach pain
    6%
  • Depression
    6%
  • Dizziness
    6%
  • Muscle and joint pain
    6%
  • Ear/nose/throat infections
    5%
  • Viral respiratory infections
    5%
  • Anxiety
    5%
  • Bronchitis
    4%
  • Pneumonia
    4%
  • Vomiting
    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
  • Severe allergic reactions
    • Positive genetic test (HLA B5701)
  • Lactic acidosis & severe liver damage
    • Obesity
    • Women
    • History of liver problems
  • Immune system reactivation
  • Fat redistribution
  • Heart attack
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
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
Now you can ask a pharmacist!

What is your question about?

Your question

Your email

We need your email to send you an answer.

Disclaimer: We don't provide medical advice. If you think you might have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.