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Description

Zerit is an oral capsule consisting of a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor and antiviral drug called stavudine. We carry the brand choice Zerit and its generic alternative in 15mg, 20mg, 30mg, and 40mg.

Zerit is prescribed to treat HIV, which also helps prevent AIDS. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus that is spread through human fluids such as blood, saliva, semen, and vaginal fluids. This virus will slowly weaken your immune system over time, which can become fatal if it progresses to AIDS. The immune system is the body’s “bodyguard” as it is in charge of defending the body against any threats, such as infections and disease. When HIV weakens your immune system so much to the point where it is no longer capable of fighting infections and diseases, you have AIDS. AIDS can be life-threatening if not treated as infections and diseases are able to thrive in your body without an immune system to fight them off.

Zerit (stavudine) is effective at treating HIV and preventing AIDS because of its ability to prevent the virus from further progressing in the body, which allows the immune system a better chance of keeping up with the infection.

Directions

Follow only the directions given to you by your doctor. Do not take more or less of a dose than directed. For the full benefit of the medication, ensure you take it regularly and create a routine by taking it around the same time every day. Take your doses at evenly spaced intervals throughout the day to keep a steady level of the drug in your system. You may need frequent blood tests during treatment with Zerit.

This medication may be taken with or without food. Store Zerit at room temperature in a low risk area of moisture and heat; ensure the bottle is tightly closed when not in used.

Cautions

Do not use Zerit (stavudine)

Do not use Zerit if you are allergic to stavudine or if you are also taking didanosine or zidovudine, or any other medications containing stavudine.

Dose adjustment or special precautions may be required

It is important to tell your doctor if you have liver disease or a history of pancreatitis. You should also tell your doctor if you have ever had kidney disease, liver disease including hepatitis C, diabetes, gallstones, numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet, problems with your pancreas, or if you drink large amounts of alcohol.

Risks

This medication can cause severe or life threatening effects on both the liver and/or pancreas.

During treatment, you may develop lactic acidosis; a dangerous buildup of lactic acid in the blood. Watch for signs during treatment and let your doctor know right away if you suspect lactic acidosis may be occurring.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant; HIV can be passed to babies during birth if the mother is not properly treated. Follow your doctor’s directions very carefully.

Do not breast feed if you have HIV; you can pass the infection onto your infant through breast milk.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Zerit (stavudine) may include:

weakness, numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands or feet; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; rash; or headache.

The above side effects should not alarm you.

Serious side effects of Zerit (stavudine) may include:

numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet; or weakness in your legs, feet, arms, or hands.

If you have any of the above side effects, contact your doctor right away.

Please note this is not a complete list of side effects. Not everyone experiences side effects; they are not guaranteed. If you do have side effects and they become unmanageable, consult your doctor about alternate medications.

Contact your doctor if you notice signs of…

pancreatitis: severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting;

liver problems: nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

lactic acidosis: unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain, vomiting, irregular heart rate, dizziness, feeling cold, or feeling very weak or tired.

FAQs

Will this medication protect against the transmission of the disease?

No. This medication will not help protect others from catching the infection from you. Ensure you wear proper protection during sexual intercourse (like a condom) and avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors.

Can I drink alcohol while using this medication?

While being treated with Zerit, you should avoid alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol may increase your risk of pancreas or liver damage.

What is the average dose for an adult with HIV?

For an adult less than 60kg; take 30mg by mouth every 12 hours. For an adult weighing more than 60kg; take 40mg by mouth every 12 hours.

Can children use this medication?

Yes. Even newborns up to 13 days may take 0.5mg/kg every 12 hours.