Zerit (Stavudine)

(℞) Prescription Required

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Zerit 40mg

Product of United Kingdom
Manufactured by: Bristol Myers Squibb
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Zerit 40mg
Product of United Kingdom
Manufactured by Bristol Myers Squibb
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Zerit (Stavudine) – PRODUCT CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE

ZERIT (Pronounced ZER it) is a prescription medicine used in combination with other drugs to treat adults and children who are infected with HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS.

Warnings and Precautions

Serious Warnings and Precautions

Lactic acidosis and severe liver enlargement: Lactic acidosis (severe increase of lactic acid in the blood) and severe liver enlargement, including deaths, have been reported among patients taking ZERIT. Symptoms of lactic acidosis may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, or unusual or unexpected stomach discomfort;

  • feeling very weak and tired;

  • shortness of breath;

  • weakness in arms and legs.

If you notice these symptoms or if your medical condition has suddenly changed, stop taking ZERIT and call your doctor right away. Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency that must be treated in a hospital.

Talk to your doctor before using ZERIT if:

  • You are using other medications including those you can buy without a prescription, as they may interfere with ZERIT .

  • You are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. It is not known if ZERIT can harm a human fetus. Also, pregnant women have experienced serious side effects when taking ZERIT in combination with didanosine and other HIV medicines. ZERIT should be used during pregnancy only after discussion with your doctor.

  • You are breast-feeding. Studies have shown ZERIT is in the breast milk of animals receiving the drug, so it may be present in human breast milk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that HIV-infected mothers not breast-feed to reduce the risk of passing HIV infection to their babies and the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants. Therefore, do not nurse a baby while taking ZERIT.

  • You have kidney, liver problems or history of heavy alcohol use.

  • You have had pancreatitis, gallstones.

  • You have had peripheral neuropathy.

Side Effects

 Serious side effects of ZERIT may include:
  • Lactic acidosis, severe increase of lactic acid in the blood, severe liver enlargement, including inflammation (pain and swelling) of the liver, and liver failure, which can cause death.

  • Peripheral neuropathy, a nerve disorder of the hands and feet.

People who take ZERIT along with other medicines that may cause similar side effects may have a higher chance of developing these side effects than if they took ZERIT alone. For example, if you use ZERIT in combination with other drugs (including didanosine) that may be associated with liver enlargement, peripheral neuropathy, or pancreatitis, you may be at increased risk for these side effects. Children experience side effects that are similar to those experienced by adults.

Lactic acidosis and severe liver enlargement—Lactic acidosis and severe liver enlargement, including deaths, have been reported among patients taking ZERIT. Symptoms of lactic acidosis may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, or unusual or unexpected stomach discomfort;

  • feeling very weak and tired;

  • shortness of breath;

  • weakness in arms and legs.

If you notice these symptoms or if your medical condition has suddenly changed, stop taking ZERIT and call your doctor right away. Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency that must be treated in a hospital. Women, overweight patients, and those who have had lengthy treatment with nucleoside medicines are more likely to develop lactic acidosis. Your doctor should check your liver function periodically while you are taking ZERIT, especially if you have a history of heavy alcohol use or a liver problem. The combination of ZERIT and didanosine may increase your risk for liver damage, which may be fatal. Your doctor should closely monitor your liver function if you are taking this combination.

Fat redistribution—Changes in body fat have been seen in some patients taking antiretroviral therapy. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breasts, and around the trunk. Loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face may also happen. The cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known at this time.

Peripheral neuropathy—This nerve disorder is rare, but may be serious. Tell your doctor right away if you or a child taking ZERIT has continuing numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the feet and/or hands. A child may not recognize these symptoms or know to tell you that his or her feet or hands are numb, burning, tingling, or painful. Ask your child's doctor for instructions on how to find out if your child develops peripheral neuropathy.

Let your doctor know if you or a child taking ZERIT has ever had peripheral neuropathy, because this condition occurs more often in patients who have had it previously. Peripheral neuropathy is also more likely to occur in patients taking drugs that affect the nerves and in patients with advanced HIV disease, but it can occur at any disease stage. If you develop peripheral neuropathy, your doctor may tell you to stop taking ZERIT. In some cases the symptoms worsen for a short time before getting better. Once symptoms of peripheral neuropathy go away completely, your doctor may decide to start ZERIT again at a lower dose.

Pancreatitis—Pancreatitis is a dangerous inflammation of the pancreas. It may cause death. Tell your doctor right away if you develop stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting. These can be signs of pancreatitis. Let your doctor know if you have ever had pancreatitis, regularly drink alcoholic beverages, or have gallstones. Pancreatitis occurs more often in patients with these conditions. It is also more likely in people with advanced HIV disease, but can occur at any disease stage. The combination of ZERIT and didanosine, with or without hydroxyurea, may increase your risk for pancreatitis.

Immune reconstitution syndrome—Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medecines. It may begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time or your immune system could react against your own body (autoimmune disease). Examples are Graves' disease (which affects your thyroid gland), Guillain-Barré Syndrome (which affects the nervous system) or polymyositis (which affects the muscles). Autoimmune disease may develop at any time, sometimes months after the start of HIV therapy. Sometimes symptoms can be severe, so if you develop high temperature (fever), joint or muscle pain, redness, rash, swelling or fatigue or any new symptoms contact your doctor straight away.

Other side effects: In addition to peripheral neuropathy, the most frequent side effects observed in studies of adults taking the recommended dose of ZERIT were headache, diarrhea, rash, and nausea and vomiting. Other side effects may include abdominal pain, muscle pain, insomnia, loss of appetite, chills or fever, allergic reactions, blood disorders.

Interactions with this medication

Other medicines, including those you can buy without a prescription, may interfere with the actions of ZERIT. You should not use ZERIT in combination with zidovudine (AZT). You should talk to your doctor if you are taking doxorubicin or ribavarin as these drugs may interfere with ZERIT. Do not take any medicine, vitamin, supplement, or other health preparation without first checking with your doctor. (Taking ZERIT with other drugs that also may cause peripheral neuropathy may increase your risk of getting this serious side effect.)

Proper Use of this medication

Usual dose:

Your doctor will determine your dose (the amount in each capsule) based on your body weight, kidney and liver function, and any side effects that you may have had with other medicines. Take ZERIT exactly as instructed. ZERIT may be taken with food or on an empty stomach.

Capsules:

ZERIT capsules are usually taken twice a day (every 12 hours).

If you have a kidney problem:

If your kidneys are not working properly, your doctor may monitor your kidney function while you take ZERIT. Also, your dosage of ZERITmay be adjusted.

Overdose:

In case of drug overdosage, contact a healthcare practitioner (e.g. doctor) hospital emergency department or regional poison control centre, even if there are no symptoms.

Missed dose:

Try not to miss a dose, but if you do, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Other related products

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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