Zidovudine has been shown to delay the progression of HIV infection to AIDS in people who do not have any AIDS symptoms yet. It has also been shown to increase the survival rate and decrease the chances of infections in people with AIDS. Zidovudine is often used in combination with two or more other HIV medications as part of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).
Zidovudine is also used to help prevent the transmission of HIV from a pregnant mother to her baby. In one study, the virus was transmitted to the baby 7.8 percent of the time when zidovudine was used, compared to 24.9 percent when the drug was not used.
General considerations for when and how to take 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.
- 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 zidovudine (thereby making it less effective).
The dose of zidovudine that your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- Your age
- Your height and weight (particularly for children)
- Other medical conditions you have
- Other medications (especially other HIV drugs) you are currently taking.
As always, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Zidovudine Dosing for more information.)