Generic Name: stavudine (STA vue deen)Brand Names: Zerit
Stavudine is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.
Stavudine is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Stavudine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Stavudine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication. Before taking stavudine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
a history of pancreatitis.
Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using stavudine. The purpose of this registry is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and delivery to evaluate whether stavudine had any effect on the baby.You should not breast-feed while you are using stavudine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.
If you have diabetes, you should know that the liquid form of this medication contains 50 milligrams (mg) of sucrose (sugar) per milliliter (mL). This is equal to 250 milligrams of sugar per teaspoon (5 mL) of stavudine liquid.
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.Take stavudine with a full glass of water.
Stavudine can be taken with or without food.Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. To be sure you get the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
It is important to use stavudine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any visits to your doctor.Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed. Keep the oral liquid in the refrigerator but do not let it freeze. Throw away any leftover medication after 30 days.
Throw away any unused or expired stavudine in a closed container or sealed bag. You may also ask your pharmacist where to locate a community pharmaceutical take-back disposal program.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Taking stavudine will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people through unprotected sex or sharing of needles. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:
liver damage - nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
lactic acidosis - muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired;
pancreatitis - severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
peripheral neuropathy - numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet;
high blood sugar - increased thirst, fruity breath odor, increased urination, drowsiness, dry skin, nausea, and vomiting; or
any signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), mouth sores, or unusual weakness.
Less serious side effects may include:
mild skin rash; or
changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:
hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea);
interferon-alfa (Roferon, Intron, Rebetron);
ribavirin (Rebetol, Ribasphere, Copegus Virazole); or
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with stavudine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.