Retrovir

(zidovudine)

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

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Our bottom line

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

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    $21.58
Quick facts about Retrovir
  • Drug class: Infection
  • Rx status:
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (zidovudine)

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.
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What to expect from Retrovir, on one page

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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.
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What to expect from Retrovir, on one page

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How it works

Retrovir (zidovudine) is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) that prevents HIV from replicating.

Quick facts about Retrovir
  • Drug class: Infection
  • Rx status:
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (zidovudine)

Used for

  • HIV infection
  • Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission
  • HIV Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP)

Dosage forms

  • Pill
  • Liquid
Tried Retrovir? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Retrovir (zidovudine) for HIV treatment

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  • First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
    Long term
  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
    Long term
  • Possible side effects
  • Headaches
  • General illness or discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Constipation
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Side effect rates for Retrovir (zidovudine)

From 236 clinical trials of Retrovir when taken for hiv treatment
  • Fever
    25%25%
  • Cough
    15%15%
  • Skin rashes
    12%12%
  • Enlarged liver
    11%11%
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
    9%9%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    8%8%
  • Diarrhea
    8%8%
  • Nasal discharge or congestion
    8%8%
  • Wheezing
    7%7%
  • Pain in the ear
    7%7%
  • Swelling of the mouth
    6%6%
  • Enlarged spleen
    5%5%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Retrovir.

Retrovir (zidovudine)
Placebo

People taking Retrovir felt side effect more

People taking Retrovir felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Retrovir (zidovudine)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Advanced HIV
    • Anemia
    • Neutropenia

    Retrovir (zidovudine) can damage your bone marrow, which can lead to anemia and affect how your body fights off infections. Your doctor will draw blood tests regularly, and might have to change your dose if you start having problems.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect