Skip to main content




What is stavudine?

Stavudine (also called Zerit®) is used to treat infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This medicine is one of a group called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Stavudine can slow down how soon you will see symptoms or slow the damage caused by HIV, but it cannot cure HIV infection.

It is available as 15-mg, 20-mg, 30-mg, and 40-mg capsules and as a liquid. All are taken by mouth.

How to take stavudine

  • This medicine is taken one (1) time in the morning and one (1) time at night.
  • Stavudine can be taken with or without food. Taking the medicine right after you have eaten a meal may help prevent upset stomach.
  • Be sure to shake liquid stavudine well before taking it.

Possible side effects of stavudine

  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Unusual tired feeling
  • Low blood counts
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tingling in the hands or feet

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for stavudine

  • Stavudine liquid must be stored in the refrigerator. When the liquid is refrigerated, it can be used for up to 30 days.
  • Stavudine capsules can be stored at room temperature.
  • Some side effects such as low blood counts can be found with blood tests. It is very important that you come to the clinic regularly for blood tests.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).