Zidovudine Dosing for Pregnant WomenThe prescribing information for zidovudine provides recommendations for using the drug in pregnant women with HIV to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies. With this use, zidovudine is given to both the mother (during pregnancy, labor, and delivery) and to the newborn baby. The recommended dose of zidovudine for this use according to the prescribing information is:
- For the mother: Zidovudine 100 mg five times daily, starting between 14 and 34 weeks of pregnancy and continuing until the start of labor. Then the drug is given by IV during labor and delivery.
- For the baby: Zidovudine 2 mg per kg of body weight (about 0.9 mg per pound) every six hours starting within 12 hours after birth and continuing for six weeks.
Current guidelines suggest that zidovudine should probably be started earlier during pregnancy. However, the guidelines also state that a woman may decide to postpone treatment until she is 10 to 12 weeks pregnant (which is still much earlier than the recommendations in the prescribing information) if she is concerned about problems during early pregnancy (see Retrovir and Pregnancy for more information).
Considerations for people taking zidovudine include the following:
- The medication comes in several forms, including tablets, capsules, and syrup. It is taken by mouth two to five times a day, depending on several factors.
- Zidovudine also comes in an injectable form that is given by IV, often during labor to help prevent the transmission of HIV from a mother to her baby.
- You can take zidovudine with or without food. If the medicine bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
- If you have kidney disease, your healthcare provider may recommend a lower zidovudine dosage.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It is very important that you closely follow your healthcare provider's instructions about taking zidovudine. Missing doses can increase the chances of the virus developing resistance to the drug (thereby making it less effective).
- If you are unsure about anything related to your zidovudine dosage, please talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Do not stop taking the drug without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.