ARV Facts

Facts about Antiretroviral Drugs

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Active substance: Zidovudine
Manufacturer: GlaxoSmithKline (UK)

Extract from the prescribing information:

"RETROVIR is not a cure for HIV infection, and patients may continue to acquire illnesses associated with HIV infection, including opportunistic infections. Therefore, patients should be advised to seek medical care for any significant change in their health status."

Known side effects: more immune deficiency

“Retrovir (Zidovudine) has been associated with hematologic toxicity including neutropenia and severe anemia particularly in patients with advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease.”
“In patients with advanced symptomatic HIV disease, anemia and neutropenia were the most significant adverse events observed. There have been reports of pancytopenia associated with the use of RETROVIR, which was reversible in most instances after discontinuance of the drug.”

Neutropenia = Decrease of neutrophils, a subtype of white blood cells
Pancytopenia = Low levels of all blood cells (i.e. red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets) due to toxic effects of ARVs on blood cell formation in the bone marrow

The above has been extracted from the Retrovir prescribing information on the GlaxoSmithKline webpages.