Retrovir
Alternatives

(zidovudine)

Retrovir (zidovudine)

Emtriva (emtricitabine)

Prescription only
1 of 6 alternatives
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.

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.

Upsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Price
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Side effects
10possible 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%
See more detailed side effects
10possible 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%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and warnings
  • Blood and bone marrow problems

    Advanced HIV

    ...and 2 more risk factors

  • Muscle and kidney damage

    Extended use of Retrovir (zidovudine)

  • Acid build-up in the blood

    Liver disease

    ...and 2 more risk factors

  • Fat redistribution

    HIV treatment

  • Immune reconstitution syndrome

    HIV

    ...and 3 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Lactic acidosis | Enlarged, fatty liver

    Liver disease

    ...and 2 more risk factors

  • Worsening hepatitis B infection

    Hepatitis B Virus infection

  • Immune reconstitution syndrome

    HIV

    ...and 3 more risk factors

  • Similar medications

    HIV treatment

  • Kidney Damage

    History of kidney damage

See more detailed risks and warnings