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zidovudine (Retrovir)


Generic name: zidovudine, sometimes also called AZT. Zidovudine is available as a generic medicine, so its appearance will depend on which type your clinic buys.

Brand names: Retrovir (the image on this page is of the version of zidovudine which has the brand name Retrovir).

Class: Individual NRTIs (nukes)


Common: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, muscle pain, generally feeling unwell, anaemia (low red blood cell count), neutropenia or leucopenia (low white blood cell count), increase in liver enzymes, increase in bilirubin, rash, fever, breathlessness, flatulence, weakness.

Rare: blood disorders, lactic acidosis, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), liver problems, pancreatitis, chest pain, fits, depression, anxiety, taste disturbance, pins and needles.


100mg and 250mg tablets.

Take 250mg twice a day.


Take with or without food.

*Last reviewed on 25/09/2015 Next review: 25/09/2018

Any questions? Email feedback@tht.org.uk Information included on this website was correct at the time of publication.

Data and image supplied by NAM.

Further information on this drug from NAM