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Zerit is a human immunodeficiency virus medication classed as a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) that your doctor may prescribe to help reduce your viral load (the amount of the virus in your body). HIV is always recommended to be treated with at least three antiviral medications, usually combined into one drug. The reason is in case the virus becomes resistant to one of the active ingredients, there are 2 or 3 more antiviral drugs to keep working.
The active ingredient in Zerit is Stavudine, also called d4T, and it works by blocking a particular enzyme called reverse transcriptase. In doing so, the HIV is prevented from making new viruses because it can no longer invade CD4 cells. Zerit, or any other HIV drugs, is not a cure for this disease, but as the amount of the virus in your body is decreased; your immune system becomes stronger. Taking Zerit as part of your HIV regimen will not protect you from transmitting the virus so caution must still be taken when interacting with others.
HIV is a chronic, lifelong disease that can be contracted through sexual intercourse, contaminated needles, contact with infected blood, during childbirth, and through mother to child transmission when breast feeding.
HIV is referred to as a retrovirus, meaning that it requires a host cell in order to change its genetic material called RNA (ribonucleic acid) into DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) to survive in your body and make new viruses. The sole purpose of anti-retroviral drugs, including Zerit, is to reduce the amount of virus in your body before your immune system is completely disabled and the infection progresses to become acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
With so many efficient medications available to those with HIV, people are living longer and able to fight off other infections because their immune system is able to help more. By lowering your viral load your infection may never advance to become AIDS. Your drug regimen with Zerit allows you to enjoy a satisfying home and social life for years to come.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or may become pregnant so it can be determined if the benefits outweigh any risks to your unborn baby by taking Zerit (Stavudine-d4T). Mothers with HIV should not breast-feed as there is the potential for passing the virus through your milk to an uninfected baby. Explain other medical conditions or allergies to your doctor so your HIV drug therapy can be set up accordingly.
Avoid alcohol consumption while taking Zerit as it may increase your risk of pancreas or liver damage. Discuss other medical conditions you have and any OTC and Rx drugs you are taking, including vitamin and nutritional supplements as it may change the efficacy of Zerit or cause an adverse reaction.
If you experience trouble breathing, rapid or uneven heart rate, muscle pain or weakness, and dizziness, seek immediate medical assistance as this may indicate a buildup of lactic acid in your body which can worsen and possible be fatal.