What is a generic medication?
Generic medications are significantly discounted copies of brand name medication that have the same active ingredients, intended use, dosage, side effects, effects, and route of administration as the original brand name medication. In other words, generic medications have the same pharmacological effects as their brand-name counterparts. Over half of all prescribed medications are for generic medications.
Retrovir Helps Treat the Following Conditions:
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and weakens the body’s natural ability to fight illness. Many people experience flu-like symptoms between two to four weeks after infection. Diagnosing HIV is done through a blood test.
Patients with HIV who receive appropriate treatment quickly can enjoy good quality of life. If left untreated, HIV can progress to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Retrovir Active Ingredient
Generic Retrovir Alternative: Retrovir
Retrovir contains the active ingredient zidovudine, which limits the ability of the HIV virus to replicate itself.
General Drug Information
What is Retrovir and What Is It Used For?
Retrovir is used with other medications to help control HIV.
This medication is commonly prescribed to pregnant women in order to protect their unborn babies. Retrovir is also used to prevent infection in newborns born to HIV-positive mothers.
Retrovir is not a cure for HIV. Patients must take precautions to ensure they do not spread the virus to others. This means regularly taking Retrovir and other HIV medications exactly as prescribed and using reliable protection methods when engaging in sexual activity. Patients should not share personal items – toothbrushes, razors, needles or syringes – that may have been in contact with blood or other bodily fluids.
Usage and Application
Retrovir should be taken as prescribed by a patient’s doctor, and the dosage depends on the patient’s medical condition and response to treatment.
Most patients are usually prescribed two or three oral doses per day. The medication is usually taken with a full glass of water.
Patients using the liquid form of this medication should measure their dose using a special measuring device. Household spoons should not be used as patients may not be able get the correct dose.
Pregnant women may need to take Retrovir five times a day. In newborns, the medication is usually administered in liquid form every six hours, for a period of six weeks after birth.
Retrovir works best when taken at evenly spaced intervals. This is because drug levels in the body need to be constant. To help patients remember, it is recommended that Retrovir be taken at the same time each day.
The antibiotic clarithromycin may prevent the body from fully absorbing Retrovir. Patients need to take Retrovir two hours before or after taking clarithromycin.
Retrovir must be taken consistently and exactly as prescribed. Patients should not skip doses and need to refill the medication long before it runs out.
It is not possible to stop this medication unless authorized by the treating physician first. Skipping or changing doses may cause the virus to multiply, making it more difficult to treat.
Considerations Before Taking Retrovir
Patients need to discuss the possibility of allergic reactions to Retrovir before starting treatment.
It is vital to discuss the patient’s medical history, especially kidney disease, hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis, and low counts of red or white blood cells. Alcohol use should also be mentioned.
The liquid form of this drug may contain sugar, a concern for diabetics and other patients that may need to limit sugar.
Patients preparing for surgery or certain dental procedures should inform their doctor or dentist about all medicines, supplements and herbal products they are taking.
Older adults are likely to be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug.
In pregnant women, Retrovir can lower the risk of passing HIV to their babies. Women should discuss the risks and benefits of using this drug during pregnancy with their doctor.
Retrovir passes into breast milk. HIV-positive mothers should not breastfeed as this can infect newborns.
Delayed and Omitted Doses
Patients who miss a dose of Retrovir should take it as soon as they remember. If this happens near the time of the next dose, patients should skip the missed dose and proceed as usual. Patients should not double up the dose in order to catch up.
Other Medications and Retrovir
Drug interactions may change the way Retrovir works, and can increase the risk of side effects. Before starting treatment, patients need to discuss the full list of medications and supplements they are taking with their doctor. Patients should not change their dose or stop taking this medication unless their physician advises them to do so.
Some products that may interact with Retrovir include weight loss drug Xenical, gout medication Benemid, Virazole (prescribed to treat hepatitis C) and the HIV drug Zerit. Negative interactions are possible with drugs that suppress bone marrow function like ganciclovir, dapsone, trimethoprim, doxorubicin and vincristine.
Drugs that may affect the kidneys – including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen – can have a similar effect.
Some medications can affect the removal of Retrovir from the body, altering the way it works. Examples include the opioid methadone, the antibiotic rifampin, and some drugs used to treat seizures like phenytoin or valproic acid.
Patients should not use Retrovir with other products which contain its active substance, zidovudine.
Many patients are able to take Retrovir safely without serious side effects.
Common side effects include headache, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping and loss of appetite.
Retrovir is designed to help improve immune system function so the body can fight HIV more effectively. As the immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight infections patients already have, causing symptoms of these infections to manifest.
It is also possible for a patient’s immune system to become overactive. This can happen at the beginning of treatment or months later. Patients should get medical help if they experience unexplained weight loss, severe tiredness, joint pain, persisting muscle weakness and severe headaches.
Additional symptoms may include numbness or tingling of the extremities and vision changes, as well as signs of infection like chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, coughing and skin sores that don’t heal.
An overactive thyroid can be an additional symptom of immune hyperfunction. Symptoms may include irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes and an unusual growth in the neck (known as a goiter).
Patients should also monitor for signs of a certain kind of nerve condition known as Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can include trouble breathing, swallowing, facial drooping, paralysis and trouble speaking.
Patients should alert their doctor in the event of rare but serious side effects such as depression, anxiety, confusion, easy bruising and bleeding, and changes in the color of skin or fingernails. There is also a rare risk of seizures.
Some patients may experience changes in body fat. This manifests as increased fat in the upper back and stomach, and decreased fat in the arms and legs. The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Exercise may help to reduce these side effects.
Serious allergic reactions to Retrovir are rare, yet patients should be aware of allergy symptoms such as rash, itching and swelling, severe dizziness and trouble breathing.
How to Store Retrovir
Retrovir should be stored at room temperature – 15-25ºC (59-77ºF) – and away from light or moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep away from children and pets.
Unwanted medication should be disposed of properly and should not be poured into drains or flushed down the toilet. Patients should consult a pharmacist or their local waste disposal company to find out more about safe disposal methods.
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