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Side Effects of Stavudine

Although most people tolerate stavudine well, side effects are possible. Some of the most common side effects of stavudine may include headaches, diarrhea, and nausea. In most cases, stavudine side effects are minor and can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. However, you should notify your healthcare provider right away if you experience more serious side effects, such as yellowing of the skin or eyes and any signs of allergic reactions.

Side Effects of Stavudine: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with stavudine (Zerit®). However, not everyone who takes the medication will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. When side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with stavudine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of stavudine side effects with you.)

Stavudine Side Effects to Report

There are a number of side effects with stavudine that you should report to your healthcare provider. These include, but are not limited to:


    • A tender or swollen abdomen
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fever
    • A rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
    • Rapid breathing


  • Symptoms of lactic acidosis (too much lactic acid in the blood), such as:


    • Feeling tired or weak
    • Muscle pain
    • Trouble breathing
    • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
    • Feeling cold
    • Cold or blue hands and feet
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • A slow or irregular heartbeat
    • Persistent nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • An enlarged or tender liver
    • Weight loss


  • Signs of liver damage, such as yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice) or upper right abdominal pain
  • Changes in the distribution of fat on your body (such as a "buffalo hump")
  • High blood sugar or even diabetes
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including an unexplained rash, hives, itching, unexplained swelling, wheezing, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Stavudine for Treating HIV/AIDS

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