Retrovir is an anti-HIV-1 medication. It contains active substance zidovudine which is a reverse transcriptase inhibitor. This class of medications also includes zalcitabine (Hivid), didanosine (Videx), and lamivudine (Epivir), stavudine (Zerit). Retrovir increases production of T4 cells and hereby increases resistance to infection. Its ability to inhibit reverse transcriptase of HIV is 100-300 times bigger than its ability to inhibit human DNA polymerase. Retrovir is produced to treat HIV infection in adults and children over 3 months of age with symptoms of the diseases or ones with no symptoms but a significant evidence of impaired immunity.
Dosage and direction
The recommended dose for adults is 100 mg taken every for hours. Optimal dose is 0.5-1.5 g a day. Blood cell count should be monitored on a regular basis and treatment should be interrupted if level of Hb decreases 25% and one of neutrophils does 50% from the initial level. In children under 12 years of age initial dose is counted as 180 mg per every square meter each 6 hours but not more than 200 mg every 6 hours. To prevent HIV transmission to the baby from the mother 100 mg of Retrovir is given five times daily until the time of labor starting from 14th week of pregnancy.
Risk of an enlarged liver and lactic acidosis increases during treatment with Retrovir especially overweight patients and those whose treatment continued for a rather extended period. If such condition develops treatment with Retrovir should be discontinued. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience such symptoms as fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, feeling of unwellness. This medication does not prevent transmission of HIV through sexual contacts or with blood. Cautiousness should be exercised in patients with a bone marrow disease or reduced amount of T-helpers, reduced bone marrow reserve prior to treatment, neutropenia, anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency. Drugs for HIV may cause a redistribution of body fat: (a “buffalo hump” on the back, extra fat around the middle, and wasting in the arms, legs, and face).
Retrovir cannot be used in individuals with hypersensitivity to the medication, anemia.
Possible side effect
The most serious side effects include a decrease in blood cells, myopathy, enlarged liver and lactic acidosis. Other adverse reactions are: fatigue, headache, asthenia, drowsiness, pain in the heart, stomach, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, gas, depression, fever symptoms, cough, secondary infection. Only your doctor is able to decide if it is safe for you to take Retrovir. Check with your doctor if the symptoms listed above become bothersome or change in intensity.
Paracetamol inhibits metabolism of Retrovir and this way increases a risk of neutropenia. Retrovir plasma levels are inhibited by inhibitors of microsomal oxidation in the liver such as morphine, codeine, indomethacin, oxazepam, cimetidine, klofibrat. Pentamidine, amphotericin B, ganciclovir, vincristine, vinblastine, radiation therapy increase toxic effects of Retrovir. Retrovir increases blood concentration of fluconazole. Ribavirin inhibits biochemical activation of Retrovir in the body and not recommended for concomitant therapy. Stavudine, Combivir or Trizivir cannot be used together with Retrovir.
Never take a double dose of this medication. If it is almost time of the next dose just skip the missed portion and continue to take the medicine according to the schedule.
Any medication taken in the excessive quantity maybe dangerous. If you suspect overdose and experience fatigue, nausea, headache, vomiting seek immediate medical attention.
Retrovir should be stored at room temperature between 15-30 C (59-86 F).
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