AZT (zidovudine)


AY-zed-tee (zye-DOE-vue-deen)

  • AZT (also called zidovudine, tradename Retrovir in Europe) is a nucleoside analogue.
  • During 2013 generic formulations of AZT may be used in the UK with will have a different brand name, a different pill size and shape and different packaging. The active ingredients will be just as effective as the original formulation.
  • AZT is no longer recommended as preferred choice for first therapy in the UK or the USA for people starting treatment.
  • Standard adult dose: 1 x 250mg capsule, twice-daily.
  • Can be taken with or without food.
  • Side effects: nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anaemia (low red blood cells), fat loss, muscle pain and weakness. Darkening of skin and nails in people of African origin.
  • Other notes: do not use with d4T. Methadone may increase AZT levels. If you take AZT and methadone, there is a caution to monitor for increased risk of side effects.
  • AZT is included with 3TC in the fixed dose combination Combivir.
  • Abacavir is included, with 3TC and AZT, in the fixed dose combination Trizivir.

Further information

Because this drug was approved before the European Medicines Agency (EMA) requirements for infromation were developed, the SPC for ddI is not on the EMA website.

Thess links are to similar information produced as part of the licensing requirement.

Patient information.

Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

The Patient Information is a simplified summary: what the drug is, why it is used, results from studies and cautions including side effects.

The SPC is a detailed technical summary that you can access as a PDF file. It describes more precisely how the drug works and how it is processed by your body. This includes, for example, reported food interaction studies in terms of calories or fat content. It includes more details of the study results and a full list of side effects and drug interactions.