Retrovir is the brand name of the drug Zidovudine, which is prescribed to treat an HIV infection and to prevent the risk of transmission. The drug, classed as a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), works by suppressing the enzyme that the virus uses to copy itself.
The drug does not cure the infection completely but helps to manage it effectively. The dosage strength depends on the level of the infection and high dosages may be required if the infection has progressed significantly.
The efficacy of Retrovir antiretroviral drug makes it an important part of the therapy in patients infected with HIV.
Since the drug has the ability to reduce the presence of the virus, it is used in preventing the transmission of the infection from a pregnant woman to the fetus or to a baby through breast milk.
Zidovudine is also used to reduce the risk of HIV transmission in persons who have been exposed to the viral strain in some form or another.
The drug should be taken exactly as prescribed for the condition. The antiretroviral medication is not a standalone treatment as the viral strain can evolve to become resistant to its effects. Hence, it is prescribed along with other HIV drugs in the treatment plan referred to as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
As with any HIV drug, the medication should be taken at the same time every day for it to be effective. Changes in the dosage, skipping doses or discontinuing the drug will result in the virus becoming resistant to the drug.
After the patient has been taking the Retrovir dosage for some time, he or she may experience certain mild side effects. These include
- change in appetite,
If case of more severe adverse reactions that may occur suddenly, consult a doctor immediately to overcome these symptoms. For any allergic reactions, the prescribing physician may be able to suggest any alternative drugs that are suitable. It is important to take up regular blood tests to monitor the HIV infection as well as watch out for underlying problems that may manifest unknowingly.
HIV drugs are generally used with caution, particularly in pregnant women, people with chronic viral infections, and those with kidney, liver or blood function troubles.
Retrovir may combine with certain drugs and cause a harmful reaction in the body. It is recommended to disclose to the healthcare provider if one is taking other drugs like Ganciclovir, Doxorubicin, and Ribavarin.
Other drugs may also interact dangerously, which can be assessed by disclosing the drug names to the physician.