Last update Dec. 4, 2020

Zidovudine (ZDV)

Very Low Risk

Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.

A nucleoside analog, structurally related to thymidine. Reverse transcriptase enzyme inhibitor with anti-HIV activity.
Oral administration in two daily doses. Intravenous presentation is also possible.

It is excreted in breastmilk in clinically insignificant amounts (Corbett 2014, Shapiro 2013 and 2005, Palombi 2012, Mirochnick 2009, Giuliano 2007)

No problems have been observed in infants whose mothers took it (Shapiro 2005).

Except in one case (Shapiro 2005), the plasma levels of these infants were undetectable (Corbett 2014, Palombi 2012, Mirochnick 2009) or very low (Palombi 2012).

According to the policy adopted by the health authorities of each country, breastfeeding in mothers with HIV/AIDS may or may not be recommended.
With highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), the HIV viral load can be reduced to zero, reducing the risk of HIV transmission through breastfeeding to levels similar to those of formula feeding.

See below the information of this related product:

  • Maternal Aids ( Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.)


We do not have alternatives for Zidovudine (ZDV) since it is relatively safe.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Zidovudine (ZDV) is also known as

Zidovudine (ZDV) in other languages or writings:


Zidovudine (ZDV) belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Zidovudine (ZDV) in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 52 - 75 %
Molecular weight 267 daltons
Protein Binding 34 - 38 %
VD 1.6 ± 0.6 l/Kg
pKa 9.96 -
Tmax 1 - 1.5 hours
T1/2 1.1 (0.5 - 2.9) hours
M/P ratio 0.7 - 3.2 -
Theoretical Dose 0.001 - 0.03 mg/Kg/d
Relative Dose 0.014 - 0.35 %


  1. Puthanakit T, Thepnarong N, Chaithongwongwatthana S, Anugulruengkitt S, Anunsittichai O, Theerawit T, Ubolyam S, Pancharoen C, Phanuphak P. Intensification of antiretroviral treatment with raltegravir for pregnant women living with HIV at high risk of vertical transmission. J Virus Erad. 2018 Apr 1;4(2):61-65. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Updated Guidelines for Antiretroviral Postexposure Prophylaxis After Sexual, Injection Drug Use, or Other Nonoccupational Exposure to HIV— United States. nPEP Guidelines Update. 2016 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  3. WHO - World Health Organization Consolidated Guidelines on the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs for Treating and Preventing HIV Infection: Recommendations for a Public Health Approach. Guideline. 2016 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Corbett AH, Kayira D, White NR, Davis NL, Kourtis AP, Chasela C, Martinson F, Phiri G, Musisi B, Kamwendo D, Hudgens MG, Hosseinipour MC, Nelson JA, Ellington SR, Jamieson DJ, van der Horst C, Kashuba A; BAN Study Team.. Antiretroviral pharmacokinetics in mothers and breastfeeding infants from 6 to 24 weeks post-partum: results of the BAN Study. Antivir Ther. 2014;19(6):587-95. Abstract
  5. Pandhi D, Ailawadi P. Initiation of antiretroviral therapy. Indian J Sex Transm Dis. 2014 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. WHO. Guidelines on post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV and the use of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis for HIV-related infections among adults, adolescents and children: recommendations for a public health approach. Guideline. 2014 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Shapiro RL, Rossi S, Ogwu A, Moss M, Leidner J, Moffat C, Lockman S, Moyo S, Makhema J, Essex M, Capparelli E. Therapeutic levels of lopinavir in late pregnancy and abacavir passage into breast milk in the Mma Bana Study, Botswana. Antivir Ther. 2013;18(4):585-90. Abstract
  8. Hirnschall G, Harries AD, Easterbrook PJ, Doherty MC, Ball A. The next generation of the World Health Organization's global antiretroviral guidance. J Int AIDS Soc. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. Palombi L, Pirillo MF, Andreotti M, Liotta G, Erba F, Sagno JB, Maulidi M, Ceffa S, Jere H, Marchei E, Pichini S, Galluzzo CM, Marazzi MC, Vella S, Giuliano M. Antiretroviral prophylaxis for breastfeeding transmission in Malawi: drug concentrations, virological efficacy and safety. Antivir Ther. 2012;17(8):1511-9. Abstract
  10. Mirochnick M, Thomas T, Capparelli E, Zeh C, Holland D, Masaba R, Odhiambo P, Fowler MG, Weidle PJ, Thigpen MC. Antiretroviral concentrations in breast-feeding infants of mothers receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Mar;53(3):1170-6. Abstract
  11. Ivana K, Milan G, Blanka K, Hana B. Therapeutic monitoring of lamotrigine during delivery, in the neonatal period, and during lactation. Ther Drug Monit. 2007;29:477. Abstract 53. 2007
  12. Giuliano M, Guidotti G, Andreotti M, Pirillo MF, Villani P, Liotta G, Marazzi MC, Mancini MG, Cusato M, Germano P, Loureiro S, Ceffa S, Regazzi M, Vella S, Palombi L. Triple antiretroviral prophylaxis administered during pregnancy and after delivery significantly reduces breast milk viral load: a study within the Drug Resource Enhancement Against AIDS and Malnutrition Program. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2007 Mar 1;44(3):286-91. Abstract
  13. Shapiro RL, Holland DT, Capparelli E, Lockman S, Thior I, Wester C, Stevens L, Peter T, Essex M, Connor JD, Mirochnick M. Antiretroviral concentrations in breast-feeding infants of women in Botswana receiving antiretroviral treatment. J Infect Dis. 2005 Sep 1;192(5):720-7. Epub 2005 Jul 27. Abstract
  14. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)

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