By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Hivid Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is Hivid® (zalcitabine) used for?

Zalcitabine is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Hivid® is commonly used for treatment HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Hivid® is taken with other medicines that treat HIV infection to be effective.

Zalcitabine may also be used for other purposes, ask your doctor for more information.

How should I take Hivid® (zalcitabine)?

Take Hivid® on an empty stomach at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

Do not take Hivid® at the same time you take antacids containing magnesium or aluminum.

Continue to use Hivid® even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Hivid®.

How do I store Hivid® (zalcitabine)?

Hivid® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Hivid® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Hivid® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Hivid® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Hivid® (zalcitabine)?

Zalcitabine may cause lactic acidosis (the build-up of lactic acid in the body). Lactic acidosis symptoms can start slowly and gradually get worse. Symptoms include unusual muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing, fast or uneven heart rate, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and numbness or cold feeling in your arms or legs. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal.

Zalcitabine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver or pancreas. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms while taking zalcitabine such as severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, fast heart rate, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

Taking zalcitabine will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people through unprotected sex or sharing of needles. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex, such as using a condom and spermicide. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Hivid® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Hivid®. Hivid® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

You should not breastfeed while you are using zalcitabine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breastfeed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Hivid® (zalcitabine)?

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • Mild nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Tired feeling
  • Skin rash
  • Changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk)

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:

  • Liver damage including nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Lactic acidosis including muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, nausea with vomiting, and fast or uneven heart rate
  • Pancreatitis including severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate
  • Peripheral neuropathy including numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet
  • Easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, pale skin
  • White patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips
  • Seizure (convulsions)
  • Fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms
  • Any other signs of new infection

Stop using zalcitabine and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Hivid® (zalcitabine)?

Hivid® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products may interact with this drug, including:

  • Pentamidine or zidovudine, because side effects, such as increased risk of swelling or irritation of the pancreas, may occur.
  • Lamivudine, because effectiveness of Hivid® may be decreased.
  • Chloramphenicol, cisplatin, dapsone, disulfiram, ethionamide, glutethimide, gold-based medicines (e.g., gold sodium thiomalate), other nucleoside analogs (eg, didanosine), phenytoin, ribavirin, vincristine, hydralazine, iodoquinol, isoniazid, metronidazole, or nitrofurantoin, because risk of severe nerve problems may be increased.
  • Aminoglycosides (e.g., gentamicin), amphotericin, cimetidine, magnesium or aluminum-containing antacids, or probenecid, because risk of side effects or toxic effects may be increased.
  • Medicine that is similar to zalcitabine, such as abacavir (Ziagen), didanosine (Videx), lamivudine (Epivir), stavudine (Zerit), tenofovir (Viread), or zidovudine (Retrovir).

Does food or alcohol interact with Hivid® (zalcitabine)?

Hivid® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Hivid® (zalcitabine)?

Hivid® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • Nervous system disease (e.g., peripheral neuropathy)
  • A history of liver disease, including hepatitis B
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart problems (e.g., cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure)
  • AIDS
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Overweight
  • Abnormal blood levels (e.g., increased serum amylase, very low CD4 cell count)
  • A history of pancreatitis


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Hivid® (zalcitabine).

What is the dose of Hivid® (zalcitabine) for an adult?

The recommended dose for adults is 0.75 mg every 8 hours (2.25 mg Hivid® total daily dose) in combination with other antiretroviral agents.

What is the dose of Hivid® (zalcitabine) for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Hivid® (zalcitabine) available?

Hivid® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Hivid® 0.75mg tablet
  • Hivid® 0.375 mg tablet

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Hivid®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: March 18, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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