zidovudine (ZDV, AZT)
Zidovudine is used in combination with
other medicines to treat HIV, and to
prevent passing HIV to a baby.
Important: To treat HIV, you must give
AZT with other medicines. It is
important to take this medicine every
day, in the recommended dose.
Side effects: Diarrhea, nausea, belly
pain, vomiting. These effects usually get
somewhat better after a few weeks.
Seek care immediately for pale skin or
other signs of anemia (see page 116).
Often comes in: tablets of 300 mg;
capsules of 100 mg, 250 mg; oral
solution or syrup of 50 mg per 5 ml;
liquid for injection of 10 mg per ml
in 20 ml vial.
How to use:
For HIV (see p. 494), give 250 to 300 mg
2 times a day, along with other
To prevent HIV from passing to a baby
during birth: For the mother, give
300 mg, 2 times a day, every day, starting
at 14 weeks of pregnancy. At the
beginning of labor, give the mother
600 mg, one time only.
If she is breasfeeding her baby, give the
mother 300 mg 2 times a day for 7 days,
along with 3TC.
For a baby born to a woman with HIV
who is not breastfeeding, give 4 mg
oral solution for each kilogram of weight
(12 mg for a 3 kg baby), by mouth, 2
times a day for 6 weeks. You should also
WARNING: AZT can cause severe
anemia. If testing is available, check
the woman’s hemoglobin before
starting AZT, and regularly while
she uses it, especially if you live
where there is a lot of malaria.
Do not give AZT with stavudine
A Book for Midwives (2010)