The most common side effects when taking Zerit (seen in between 1 and 10 patients in 100) are peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves in the extremities causing tingling, numbness and pain in the hands and feet), diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal (tummy) pain, dyspepsia (heartburn), fatigue (tiredness), lipodystrophy (redistribution of body fat), lipoatrophy (a loss of fat in some areas of the body which can cause disfigurement), dizziness, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), abnormal thinking, somnolence (sleepiness), depression, rash, pruritus (itching) and hyperlactataemia (elevated lactic acid levels in the blood).
Three side effects are possibly related to the medicine?s toxic effect on mitochondria (the energy-producing components within cells): lipoatrophy, lactic acidosis (a build-up of lactic acid in the body) and peripheral neuropathy. These side effects are serious, usually appear with long-term use and are more commonly seen with Zerit than with other NRTI medicines.
For the full list of side effects reported with Zerit, see the package leaflet.
Zerit should not be used in people who may be hypersensitive (allergic) to stavudine or any of the other ingredients.