Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Zalcitabine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but it may slow the disease process and prolong your life. This medicine was withdrawn from the U.S. market on December 31, 2006 due to the availability of newer HIV medicines.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking cimetidine (Tagamet®), probenecid (Benemid®), antacids (such as Maalox®, Mylanta®, Di-Gel®), didanosine (Videx®), disulfiram (Antabuse®), gold, cisplatin (Platinol®), vincristine (Oncovin®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), or medicine to treat infections.
Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you have kidney or liver disease, or a history of pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas), heart failure, or alcohol abuse.
You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you may give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
Zalcitabine may cause nerve damage. If you have any numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the hands or feet, call your doctor right away.
This nerve damage may occur more often in patients who have had the problem before, or in patients who have diabetes or have lost weight. Taking other medicines such as isoniazid, some types of sulfa drugs, Dilantin®, and cancer medicines can increase the chance of nerve damage.
Zalcitabine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone else.