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Drug Guide    Z   Zalcitabine

  Prescription drug information   Post your opinion about this drug  

   Zalcitabine

Zalcitabine
Oral


This drug, used in combination with other medications, helps to control your HIV infection, thereby improving your quality of life. It also lowers your risk of getting HIV disease complications (e.g., opportunistic infections, cancer). However, this drug is not a cure for HIV infection, and it does not prevent the spread of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination (e.g., sharing needles).Zalcitabine is an antiviral drug (nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-NRTI) that works by slowing the growth of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Zalcitabine is sometimes called "ddC."One group of HIV medications (the nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors-NRTIs such as zidovudine and lamivudine) are very useful. However, NRTIs are recommended to be used in combination with other groups of HIV medications in order to be effective. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

 
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 Zalcitabine images:

OverviewPhotosHow To UseSide EffectsPrecautionsMissed DoseDrug Interactions
Zalcitabine

Uses
This drug, used in combination with other medications, helps to control your HIV infection, thereby improving your quality of life. It also lowers your risk of getting HIV disease complications (e.g., opportunistic infections, cancer). However, this drug is not a cure for HIV infection, and it does not prevent the spread of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination (e.g., sharing needles).Zalcitabine is an antiviral drug (nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-NRTI) that works by slowing the growth of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Zalcitabine is sometimes called "ddC."One group of HIV medications (the nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors-NRTIs such as zidovudine and lamivudine) are very useful. However, NRTIs are recommended to be used in combination with other groups of HIV medications in order to be effective. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Notes
  • To decrease your risk of spreading HIV/other sexually transmitted diseases, always use an effective barrier method (e.g., latex condoms/dental dams) during sexual activity.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.Do not share this medication with others.Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood counts, kidney or liver function tests, amylase, triglyceride levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
  • Consult your doctor for more details.Keep all medical and laboratory appointments.

Storage
  • Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) in a tightly closed container, away from light and moisture.
  • Do not store in the bathroom.
  • Keep all medicines away from children and pets.


How To Use
  • Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually every 8 hours or as directed by your doctor.Do not take this medication for at least 1 hour before or after taking products that contain magnesium or aluminum such as quinapril, certain forms of didanosine, and antacids.
  • These products bind with zalcitabine, preventing its full absorption.
  • Consult your pharmacist if you have any questions.Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.It is very important to continue taking this medication and other anti-HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor.This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level.
  • Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals.
  • To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.
  • Do not skip any doses.Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it or other HIV medicines, even for a short time, unless directed to do so by your doctor.
  • Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause serious problems, such as increasing the amount of the virus in your body, making the virus more difficult to treat (developing resistance), or making side effects worse.

Side Effects
  • See also Warning section.Vomiting/nausea, headache, diarrhea/constipation, abdominal pain, or sores in the mouth/throat may occur.
  • If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.
  • Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: unusual fatigue, painful swallowing, fast/pounding heartbeat, new signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), easy bruising/bleeding, mental/mood changes, muscle/joint pain, seizures, swelling of the ankles/feet, shortness of breath, increased thirst/urination, change in the amount of urine.Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (e.g., increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs).
  • The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits of therapy with your doctor, as well as the possible role of exercise to reduce this side effect.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.
  • Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions
  • Before taking zalcitabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other HIV medications (e.g., zidovudine, didanosine); or if you have any other allergies.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: numbness/tingling of arms/legs (peripheral neuropathy), hepatitis B infection, kidney disease, liver disease, certain heart problems (e.g., cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure), pancreas problems (pancreatitis), diabetes, high blood fat level (triglycerides), alcohol use.Kidney function declines as you grow older.
  • This medication is removed by the kidneys.
  • Therefore, elderly people may be at greater risk for side effects while using this drug.This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.It is not known if zalcitabine passes into breast milk.
  • Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

Missed Dose
  • If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
  • Do not take the missed dose if you remember within 2 hours of your next dose.
  • In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule.

Drug Interactions
  • Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it.
  • Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious interactions may occur: didanosine, lamivudine, pentamidine injection, stavudine.If you are currently using any of these medications listed above, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting zalcitabine.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: cimetidine, probenecid, drugs that may be harmful to your kidneys (e.g., aminoglycosides such as gentamicin, amphotericin B, foscarnet), other drugs that may cause peripheral neuropathy (e.g., cisplatin, dapsone, disulfiram, gold therapy, isoniazid, nitrofurantoin, phenytoin, ribavirin, vincristine).

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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