Generic Name: stavudine (STAV-ue-deen)
Brand Name: Zerit
Severe and sometimes fatal lactic acidosis (buildup of an acid in the blood) has been reported with this type of medicine. The risk may be increased in women, in patients with liver problems, and in patients who are very overweight. It may also be increased in patients who have taken certain HIV medicines for a prolonged period of time. Fatal lactic acidosis has been reported in pregnant women who use Zerit in combination with certain other medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you experience extreme weakness or tiredness; unusual muscle pain; difficulty breathing; stomach pain with nausea and vomiting; feeling cold, especially in the arms and legs; dizziness and lightheadedness; or fast or irregular heartbeat.
Severe and sometimes fatal liver problems have been reported with this type of medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you experience yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pale stools, loss of appetite, nausea, or stomach pain.
When used in combination with certain medicines, pancreatitis (sometimes fatal) has occurred on rare occasions. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop severe stomach or abdominal pain.
Zerit is used for:
Treating HIV infection when used in combination with other medicines.
Zerit is a nucleoside analogue antiviral. It blocks the growth of HIV.
Do NOT use Zerit if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Zerit
- you are taking zidovudine
- you are taking didanosine or hydroxyurea
- you have an enlarged liver or lactic acidosis
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Zerit:
Some medical conditions may interact with Zerit. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have kidney or liver problems, abnormal liver function tests, diabetes, inflammation of the pancreas, gallstones, or problems with tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
- if you are very overweight or if you drink alcohol
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Zerit. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Didanosine because the risk of side effects, including lactic acidosis, inflammation of the pancreas, or numbness or tingling of the hands or feet, may be increased
- Didanosine, doxorubicin, hydroxyurea, interferon, or ribavirin because the risk of severe and sometimes fatal liver problems may be increased
- Methadone or zidovudine because they may decrease Zerit's effectiveness
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Zerit may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use Zerit:
Use Zerit as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Zerit comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get Zerit refilled.
- Take Zerit by mouth with or without food.
- Continue to take Zerit even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of Zerit, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Zerit.
Important safety information:
- Avoid drinking alcohol while you take Zerit. Drinking alcohol may increase your risk of liver or pancreas problems.
- Zerit does not stop the spread of HIV to others through blood or sexual contact. Use barrier methods of birth control (eg, condoms) if you have HIV infection. Do not share needles, injection supplies, or items like toothbrushes or razors.
- Zerit is not a cure for HIV infection. Patients may still get illnesses and infections associated with HIV. Remain under the care of your doctor.
- When your medicine supply is low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can. Do not stop taking Zerit, even for a short period of time. If you do, the virus may grow resistant to the medicine and become harder to treat.
- Zerit may improve immune system function. This may reveal hidden infections in some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of infection (eg, fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, shortness of breath) after you start Zerit.
- Changes in body fat (eg, an increased amount of fat in the upper back, neck, breast, and trunk, and loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face) may occur in some patients taking Zerit. The risk of a loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face may be greater with Zerit than with other similar medicines. Discuss any concerns with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you notice a change in your body's appearance.
- Diabetes patients - Zerit may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Lab tests, including liver and kidney function, may be performed while you use Zerit. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if Zerit can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Zerit while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Mothers infected with HIV should not breast-feed. There is a risk of passing the HIV infection or Zerit to the baby.
Possible side effects of Zerit:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Changes in body fat; diarrhea; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; vomiting.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chills; fever; muscle aches or weakness; numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands or feet; sore throat; stomach pain (with or without nausea or vomiting); stomach swelling; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst or urination, confusion, unusual drowsiness); symptoms of lactic acidosis (eg, general body discomfort, cold feeling, dizziness, lightheadedness, fast or irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss); symptoms of liver problems (eg, yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, persistent nausea or vomiting); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; weakness in the arms or legs.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include numbness or tingling in the hands or feet; yellowing of the skin or eyes.Proper storage of Zerit:
Store Zerit at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Zerit out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about Zerit, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Zerit is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Zerit or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Zerit. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Zerit. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Zerit.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.