This page contains brief details about the drug , it's indication, dosage & administaration, mechanism of action, related brands with strength, warnings and common side effects.

Background and Date of Approval

Zidovudine is an antiretroviral drug belonging to the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) category. It was approved by the U.S. FDA on 19th of March 1987 to treat HIV-1 infection.

Mechanism of Action of undefined

Zidovudine works by inhibiting the reverse transcriptase enzyme of HIV, restricting the replication of the viral genome, and reducing the production of new infectious viral particles. It mainly interferes with reverse transcription, and this drug helps to inhibit the spread of HIV within the body.

Uses of undefined

Zidovudine is prescribed to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. This drug can also be prescribed to prevent virus transmission from the mother to the fetus.

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

It is an orally available prescription drug. Your doctor will decide the dose and duration of the drug based on the disease condition and other factors. Always take Zidovudine as prescribed by your doctor. Take the tablet with or without food. Do not break, chew, or crush them . Swallow the whole with water.

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


It is not recommended to take Zidovudine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. This medicine may be given alone or in combination with other antiretroviral medicines. This drug can cause bone marrow suppression, resulting in decreased production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, leading to anemia, thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), and neutropenia (low white blood cell count). Regular monitoring of blood cell counts is necessary, especially during the initial stages of treatment. This medicine has been associated with mitochondrial toxicity, which leads to serious conditions such as lactic acidosis (the buildup of lactic acid in the blood) and hepatic steatosis (fatty liver). These complications are likely to occur in individuals with underlying liver disease, obesity, or a history of pancreatitis.


During the early stages of HIV treatment, some patients may experience an inflammatory response to opportunistic infections. This condition, immune reconstitution syndrome, can occur after starting the drug or other antiretroviral therapies. It is necessary to know this possibility and monitor for any signs of worsening infections or inflammatory symptoms. Inform your healthcare provider if the symptoms concern you or persist longer than usual. Tell your physician about all the medications you have been taking recently, including herbal medicines and supplements, before taking this drug.

Side Effects

 The common side effects that are likely to occur while you are on the treatment with Zidovudine are headache, muscle pain, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, fever, cough, anaemia and neutropenia. Some serious side effects also include liver damage, myopathy, lactic acidosis and hypersensitivity reactions. If you experience any allergic or unusual reactions after taking this medicine, report to your doctor immediately.

Word Of Advice

To prevent the spread of HIV infection, avoid sharing needles or syringes, which can transmit HIV-1 infections easily. It's necessary for individuals who use injectable drugs to use sterile needles and syringes and never share them with others. Personal items should also be avoided, like toothbrushes, razor blades, or anything that can have blood or body fluids on them. They should not be shared because HIV-1 can be present in blood and certain body fluids, and sharing these items could mainly transmit the virus. 

Since this drug is unsafe for breastfeeding because HIV infection can be passed to the baby in the breast milk, alternative feeding methods can be followed to nourish the infant's growth. If you forget to take Zidovudine for the entire day, take your usual dose the next day. However, do not double-dose yourself. 

Frequently Asked Question


  1. GlaxoSmithKline, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, [Revised on Dec 2014] [Accessed on 11th May 2023]
  2. Sharon Safrin, Lange's Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 14th Edition, 2018, Antiviral Agents, 863-894.
  3. KD Tripathi, Antiviral Drugs (Anti-retrovirus), Essentials of Medical Pharmacology, 8th Edition, 2019, 860-872.


The drug information on this page is not a substitute for medical advice, it is meant for educational purposes only. For further details consult your doctor about your medical condition to know if you are eligible to receive this treatment.