What is Zerit (Stavudine) Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Zerit (Stavudine) Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Zerit (Stavudine)?

Zerit is the brand name for a reverse transcriptase inhibitor called stavudine (d4t) that is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. It is an oral medication that is designed to combat human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in combination with other antiretroviral agents.  

What is Stavudine Used For?

Stavudine (d4t) is in the antiretroviral drug class. It works together with other antiretroviral medications to increase the body’s ability to fight off HIV-1 activity. Stavudine works by inhibiting the activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase.

How to Take D4T and Dosage

HIV-infected patients are to take Zerit as part of combination therapy. Dosage is based on the weight of the adult patient. For pediatric patients, dosing is based on age and weight. Dosage adjustment is recommended for renal impaired patients.

Zerit is supplied in various strengths and forms, as capsules and an oral solution. The oral solution must be prepared by a pharmacist. Zerit should be dosed at 12-hour intervals. It can be taken with or without food.

Warnings and Precautions


  • Lactic acidosis/severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, has been reported in patients taking nucleoside analogues on their own or in combination with other antiretroviral medications, including stavudine.
  • Fatal and nonfatal pancreatitis have occurred when Zerit was part of a combination regimen.

Adverse reactions

  • Hepatic toxicity
  • Neurologic symptoms
  • Pancreatitis
  • Lipoatrophy
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome

Zerit Contraindications and Side Effects


Zerit is contraindicated in patients who are hypersensitive to d4t or any of its components. As well, coadministration of Zerit and didanosine is contraindicated.

Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

These may not be the complete list of warnings, contraindications and side effects linked to Zerit. For more information, please see the package insert.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this article are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. This article, and other AIDS and HIV Information articles on AIDS Drugs Online, are not written by AIDS Drugs Online or reviewed by its staff for medical validity. All views and opinions expressed by the third-party authors are not endorsed by AIDS Drugs Online or its staff. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice.


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