Do not take Zerit:
If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to stavudine or any of the other ingredients of Zerit. Contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Take special care with Zerit:
Before treatment with Zerit, you should have told your doctor:
--if you suffer from kidney disease or liver disease (such as hepatitis),
--if you have had peripheral neuropathy (persistent numbness, tingling, or pain in the feet and/or hands), or
- if you have suffered from pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
The class of medicines to which Zerit belongs (NRTIs) can cause a sometimes fatal condition called lactic acidosis, together with an enlarged liver. This condition usually does not occur until a few months after onset of treatment. This rare, but very serious side effect occurs more often in women, particularly if very overweight. In addition, rare cases of liver failure/renal failure or fatal hepatitis have been reported.
Patients with chronic hepatitis B or C and treated with antiretroviral agents are at increased risk for severe and potentially fatal liver side effects and may require blood tests for control of liver function.
If you develop one of the following, contact your doctor:
--persistent numbness, tingling or pain in feet and/or hands (this may indicate the beginning of peripheral neuropathy, an adverse effect on the nerves), muscular weakness or --abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, or
--rapid deep breathing, drowsiness (which may indicate pancreatitis, liver disturbance such as hepatitis, or lactic acidosis).
In some patients with advanced HIV infection (AIDS) and a history of opportunistic infection, signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections may occur soon after anti-HIV treatment is started. It is believed that these symptoms are due to an improvement in the body?s immune response, enabling the body to fight infections that may have been present with no obvious symptoms. If you notice any symptoms of infection, please inform your doctor immediately.
Redistribution, accumulation, or loss of body fat may occur in patients receiving Zerit. Some NRTIs, such as Zerit, have been associated with a loss of body fat (lipoatrophy). Contact your doctor if you notice changes in body fat.
Bone problems: some patients taking Zerit may develop a bone disease called osteonecrosis (death of bone tissue caused by loss of blood supply to the bone). The length of combination antiretroviral therapy, corticosteroid use, alcohol consumption, severe immunosuppression, higher body mass index, among others, may be some of the many risk factors for developing this disease. Signs of osteonecrosis are joint stiffness, aches and pains (especially of the hip, knee and shoulder) and difficulty in movement. If you notice any of these symptoms please inform your doctor.
Taking other medicines
Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription.
Except for zidovudine and didanosine, Zerit may be taken with many of the other medicines commonly used in patients with HIV infection. These include the protease inhibitors (such as nelfinavir) and NRTIs. Please tell your doctor if you are taking hydroxyurea, doxorubicin or ribavirin as undesirable interactions may occur.
Taking Zerit with food and drink:
For maximum effect, Zerit should be taken on an empty stomach, and preferably at least one hour before a meal. If this is not possible, the capsules may also be taken with a light meal.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding:
If you become pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, you must contact your doctor to discuss the potential side effects and the benefits and risks of your antiretroviral therapy to you and your child. Lactic acidosis (sometimes fatal) has been reported in pregnant women who received Zerit in combination with other antiretroviral treatment.
If you have taken Zerit during your pregnancy, your doctor may request regular visits to monitor the development of your child. Such visits may include blood tests and other diagnostic tests.
Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. It is recommended that HIV-infected women should not breast-feed under any circumstances in order to avoid transmission of HIV to the baby.
Driving and using machines:
Zerit may cause dizziness and drowsiness.
If you are affected, do not drive and do not use any tools or machines.
Important information about some of the ingredients of Zerit:
These capsules contain lactose. If you have been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance to some sugars, contact your doctor before taking this medicinal product.