Generic Name: zidovudine

Pronunciation: N/A

Abbreviation: AZT

Other Market Name: N/A

Drug Class: Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs)

Company: ViiV Healthcare

Approval Status: Approved

Generic Version Available: Yes

Experimental Code: N/A

Drug Indication

Not part of a recommended or alternative treatment regimen for antiretroviral-naive people living with HIV, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents. Visit for the full DHHS guidelines.

General Info

Retrovir is an HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Retrovir was the first drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by people living with HIV in 1987.

Retrovir is available as a single drug or in the fixed-dosed combination drugs Combivir and Trizivir.

Retrovir must be used in combination with other HIV drugs.


Adult Dose: One 300mg tablet twice a day.

Pediatric Dose: Age 4 weeks to 18 years: dosing based on body weight and should not exceed adult daily dose.

Dosing Info: Take with or without food, however taking with food may minimize stomach upset.

Side Effects

Bone marrow problems, such as decreased production of red blood cells and/or white blood cells, can occur in people talking zidovudine.

A rare but potentially serious side effect of zidovudine is myopathy (damage to the muscles, including the heart). People who use zidovudine for a long period of time, meaning several years, are at the greatest risk for myopathy. General symptoms of myopathy include weakness of limbs, usually proximal (located close to the center of the body).

Fatigue, rash, trouble sleeping (insomnia), nausea, and headache can also be caused by Retrovir.

Drug Interactions

For a review of drug interactions, including prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements that should not be taken with Retrovir or may require dose adjustments, consult the Retrovir package insert:

Other Info

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease or liver disease. In addition, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, if you are breastfeeding, and all your medical conditions, including all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking.

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Last Reviewed: July 15, 2016