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Didanosine

Didanosine

What is didanosine?

Didanosine is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children 2 weeks of age and older. Didanosine is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.

Didanosine belongs to a class (group) of HIV drugs called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). NRTIs block an HIV enzyme called reverse transcriptase. (An enzyme is a protein that starts or increases the speed of a chemical reaction.) By blocking reverse transcriptase, NRTIs prevent HIV from multiplying and can reduce the amount of HIV in the body.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Didanosine is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Didanosine is in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although didanosine does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other life-style changes may decrease the risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to other people.

Side Effect

Major and Minor Didanosine Side Effect

  • diarrhea
  • numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in hands or feet
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach pain
  • swelling of the stomach
  • muscle or joint pain
  • extreme tiredness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fast, slow or irregular heartbeat
  • deep or rapid breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • dark yellow or brown urine
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

How should this medicine be used?

Didanosine comes as extended-release (long-acting) capsules and as an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth. The oral solution is usually taken once or twice a day 30 minutes before or 2 hours after eating. The extended-release capsules are usually taken once a day on an empty stomach. Take didanosine around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take didanosine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

If you are using the extended-release capsules, swallow them whole; do not split, chew, crush, break, or dissolve them. Tell your doctor if you are unable to swallow the extended-release capsules whole.

If you are taking the oral solution, you should shake it well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Use a dose-measuring spoon or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid for each dose, not a regular household spoon.

Didanosine controls HIV infection but does not cure it. Continue to take didanosine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking didanosine without talking to your doctor. If you miss doses or stop taking didanosine, your condition may become more difficult to treat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

 

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