Compare Ziagen vs. Retrovir

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

Ziagen
(Abacavir)

Retrovir
(Zidovudine, Azt, Or Zdv)

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. If you don't have an allergic reaction to the drug and have good liver function, then this drug is a decent option within within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class.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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Reviews & ratings
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Side effects
ZiagenRetrovir

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

FDA side effect reports for Ziagen »

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

FDA side effect reports for Retrovir »
How it works
ZiagenRetrovir
abacavir 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.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
ZiagenRetrovir
Coming soon.Prescription only
Coming soon.
Available as
ZiagenRetrovir
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
ZiagenRetrovir
  • HIV infection
  • HIV infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
ZiagenRetrovir
  • Prior severe allergic reaction to abacavir
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • HIV
  • Exposure to other infections
  • Start of a new HIV medication
  • Change in HIV therapy
  • HIV treatment
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
Detailed Ziagen (Abacavir) risks & warnings »
  • Advanced HIV
  • Anemia
  • Neutropenia
  • Longtime use of AZT
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • HIV
  • Exposure to other infections
  • Start of a new HIV medication
  • Change in HIV therapy
  • HIV treatment
Detailed Retrovir (Zidovudine, Azt, Or Zdv) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
ZiagenRetrovir
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

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.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

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.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
No specific food-related info.
  • Take AZT with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
  • abacavir 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 abacavir. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
  • Poor kidney function will affect how much AZT you can take.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • To best deal with stomach upset and other side effects, either take abacavir twice a day for lower effects throughout the day, or once a day at night to sleep through the bulk of effects.
No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
ZiagenRetrovir
  • Can take one tablet twice a day, or two tablets once a day.
  • abacavir is in a number of other combination meds, so you may be able to find a single drug that has abacavir and other HIV medicines you are taking in a single product.
  • Can be used for kids 3 months and older.
  • 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
ZiagenRetrovir
  • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.
  • Severe allergic reactions to abacavir are possible. Genetic testing may help identify if you are likely to react poorly to abacavir.
  • Once someone has an allergic reaction to abacavir, they can't take any other medications containing abacavir in the future.
  • 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
ZiagenRetrovir
  • To best deal with stomach upset and other side effects, either take abacavir twice a day for lower effects throughout the day, or once a day at night to sleep through the bulk of effects.
  • Work with your healthcare provider to get regular blood tests. The goal is to make sure the drug is working well and safely.
  • If being used for kids, the dose of abacavir will continue to change as they grow, so keep in touch with their doctor.
  • 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 ZiagenSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about RetrovirSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert