Stavudine may cause serious or life-threatening lactic acidosis (build-up of acid in the blood) that will probably need to be treated in the hospital. The risk that you will develop lactic acidosis is higher if you are a woman, if you are overweight, and if you have been treated with medications for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for a long time. The risk may also be higher if you are pregnant and you are taking stavudine along with didanosine (Videx). Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease, including hepatitis C virus infection. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: nausea; vomiting; loss of appetite; excessive tiredness; weakness; dizziness; lightheadedness; fast or irregular heartbeat; trouble breathing; dark yellow or brown urine; unusual bleeding or bruising; flu-like symptoms; light-colored bowel movements; yellowing of the skin or eyes; pain in the upper right part of your stomach; feeling cold, especially in the arms or legs; or muscle pain that is different than any muscle pain you usually experience.
Stavudine may cause serious or life-threatening pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). Tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcoholic beverages and if you have or have ever had pancreatitis. Do not drink alcohol while you are taking stavudine. Also tell your doctor if you are taking didanosine (Videx). If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: stomach pain or swelling, nausea, vomiting, or fever.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to stavudine.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking stavudine.
Stavudine is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Stavudine is in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although stavudine does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other life-style changes may decrease the risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to other people.
Stavudine comes as a capsule and as an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day (every 12 hours), with or without food and with plenty of water. To help you remember to take stavudine, take it at around the same times each day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take stavudine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you are giving the oral solution to a child, shake the bottle well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use the measuring cup provided to measure the child's dose.
Stavudine controls HIV infection but does not cure it. Continue to take stavudine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking stavudine without talking to your doctor. When your supply of stavudine starts to run low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist. If you miss doses or suddenly stop taking stavudine, your condition may become more difficult to treat.
Stavudine is also sometimes used in combination with other medications to prevent HIV infection in healthcare workers or other people who were accidentally exposed to HIV. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking stavudine,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Stavudine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or does not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience the following symptoms or any of those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
Stavudine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store the capsules at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Store the oral solution in the refrigerator and dispose of the unused portion after 30 days.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
Keep a supply of stavudine on hand. Do not wait until you run out of medication to refill your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: May 15, 2018.