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Last updated on November 21st, 2021

Generic names: Azidothymidine (AZT), Zidovudine, ZDV, Retrovis

Brand name: Retrovir

What is Retrovir?

Retrovir is anti-HIV medication that has been labeled as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). It lowers infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) drug prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in the organism.

Your doctor may prescribe this remedy for other purposes. Contact your physician if you need to learn more information about this drug.

Don’t stop treatment with Retrovir earlier than it was prescribed by your doctor even if you notice improvements of your condition. Stopping the medication too early may worsen your condition. Be careful about doing dangerous tasks, driving, operating machinery or climbing until you are aware how this drug affects you. Don’t drink alcohol. Always contact a medic before giving Retrovir to a child.

What should I tell my doctor before I take this drug?

Your doctor has to know if you have the following conditions:

  •     heart disorders (such as heart rhythm problems)
  •     liver or kidney disease
  •     allergy to zidovudine, or to similar foods, medicines, dyes, or preservatives
  •     dental disease
  •     recent chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  •     anemia
  •     problems with your blood counts
  •     diabetes
  •     pregnancy, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant

How to take Retrovir?

Note: This remedy was prescribed to you only. Don’t share this medicament with others. Follow strictly your doctor’s recommendations. Don’t take more or longer than your doctor recommended.

Retrovir comes in the form of syrup, capsules and tablets to take orally.

The recommended starting dosage of this medication is 500-600 milligrams (mg) per day. Take it 2-3 times a day, at regular intervals.

This medication is usually accompanied by a full glass of liquid. It is important to drink several glasses of water each day while you are taking Retrovir to protect your kidneys. You may take it either with or without food. In order to mitigate stomach irritation and help your body absorb the drug is advisable to combine with food.

The tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not break, chew or crush them.

The dosage may vary among individuals. It is obviously to contact your doctor before taking this medicament. Follow your physician’s instructions carefully.

Do not take this dosage unless your medic specifically instructs you to do so.

What should I do if I miss the dose?

If you miss the dose, try to take it as soon as you have the opportunity. If it is time for your next dose, take only one dose. You don’t have to double the dose.


Taking any medicine in large doses you can have serious consequences for your health. If you feel an overdose, contact your health care professional instantly.

In large doses, this remedy may cause the following conditions:

  • nausea
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • weakness


  • methadone (Methadose, Dolophine)
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • ritonavir (Norvir)
  • atovaquone (Mepron)
  • ganciclovir (Cytovene)
  • probenecid (Benemid)
  • fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • interferon-alfa (Intron, Roferon, Rebetron)
  • stavudine (Zerit)
  • nelfinavir (Viracept)
  • ribavirin (Ribasphere, Rebetol, Copegus Virazole)

This list of interactions may be not complete. Provide your medical practitioners entire list of medicines, herbs, dietary supplements or non-prescription drugs you take. Moreover tell them whether you drink alcohol, use illegal drugs or smoke. Particular items may interact with your drug.

Side Effects:

  •     Allergy like skin rash, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, hives, itching, difficulty breathing
  •     Changes in body appearance (weight gain around waist and/or face)
  •     Problems with breathing, chest pain
  •     Fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms
  •     Nausea, vomiting
  •     Numbness, tingling in your hands or feet (tremor), muscle stiffness, or spasms
  •     Difficulty urinating (urinary retention), dark urine, diarrhea or loose stools
  •     Headache, dizziness, ringing in your ears or hearing loss
  •     Indigestion, or upset stomach, bloating, stomach gas, pain or cramps
  •     White patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips
  •     Fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  •     Fatigue, faintness
  •     Loss of appetite
  •     Liver problems, an enlarged liver, yellowing eyes, skin
  •     Unusual bleeding or bruising
  •     Blistering, redness, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth, pale skin
  •     Discolored nails and skin

This list of side effects may be not complete, others may occur. Inform your medical practitioners about all side effects you experience.


Retrovir should be stored at room temperature, in a tightly closed container. Protect from moisture, direct heat, and light. Do not store in the bathroom or near a sink. Keep Retrovir out of the reach of children and away from animals.

Warning: Before taking the drug you need to consult your doctor. The information contained in this article is not intended to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, adverse effects, directions, uses, allergic reactions or warnings.

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