This information is intended for use by health professionals
Retrovir 10 mg/ml IV Concentrate for Solution for Infusion
Neonates should be given 0.2 mL/kg (2 mg/kg) bodyweight orally every 6 hours starting within 12 hours after birth and continuing until 6 weeks-old.
Care should be taken when calculating doses for neonates due to the small volumes of oral solution required. To facilitate dosing precision, an appropriately sized syringe with 0.1 mL graduation should be used to ensure accurate oral dosing of neonates (see oral solution SPC).
Infants unable to receive oral dosing should be given Retrovir intravenously at 1.5 mg/kg bodyweight infused over 30 minutes every 6 hours.In case of planned caesarean, the infusion should be started 4 hours before the operation. In the event of a false labour, the Retrovir infusion should be stopped and oral dosing restarted.Dosage adjustments in patients with haematological adverse reactions: Substitution of zidovudine should be considered in patients whose haemoglobin level or neutrophil count fall to clinically significant levels. Other potential causes of anaemia or neutropenia should be excluded. Retrovir dose reduction or interruption should be considered in the absence of alternative treatments (see sections 4.3 and 4.4).Dosage in the elderly: Zidovudine pharmacokinetics have not been studied in patients over 65 years of age and no specific data are available. However, since special care is advised in this age group due to age-associated changes such as the decrease in renal function and alterations in haematological parameters, appropriate monitoring of patients before and during use of Retrovir is advised.Dosage in renal impairment: In patients with severe renal impairment, the recommended IV dosage is 1 mg/kg 3-4 times daily. This is equivalent to the current recommended oral daily dosage for this patient group of 300 400 mg allowing for oral bioavailability of 60-70%. Haematological parameters and clinical response may influence the need for subsequent dosage adjustment. For patients with end-stage renal disease maintained on haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, the recommended dose is 100 mg every 6-8 hrs (300 mg 400 mg daily) (see section 5.2).Dosage in hepatic impairment: Data in patients with cirrhosis suggest that accumulation of zidovudine may occur in patients with hepatic impairment because of decreased glucuronidation. Dosage reductions may be necessary but, due to the large variability in zidovudine exposures in patients with moderate to severe liver disease, precise recommendations cannot be made. If monitoring of plasma zidovudine levels is not feasible, physicians will need to monitor for signs of intolerance, such as the development of haematological adverse reactions (anaemia, leucopenia, neutropenia) and reduce the dose and/or increase the interval between doses as appropriate (see section 4.4).
Lactic acidosis: lactic acidosis usually associated with hepatomegaly and hepatic steatosis has been reported with the use of zidovudine. Early symptoms (symptomatic hyperlactatemia) include benign digestive symptoms (nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain), non-specific malaise, loss of appetite, weight loss, respiratory symptoms (rapid and/or deep breathing) or neurological symptoms (including motor weakness).
Lactic acidosis has a high mortality and may be associated with pancreatitis, liver failure, or renal failure.
Lactic acidosis generally occurred after a few or several months of treatment.
Treatment with zidovudine should be discontinued in the setting of symptomatic hyperlactatemia and metabolic/lactic acidosis, progressive hepatomegaly, or rapidly elevating aminotransferase levels.
Caution should be exercised when administering zidovudine to any patient (particularly obese women) with hepatomegaly, hepatitis or other known risk factors for liver disease and hepatic steatosis (including certain medicinal products and alcohol). Patients co-infected with hepatitis C and treated with alpha interferon and ribavirin may constitute a special risk.
Patients at increased risk should be followed closely.
Patients should be cautioned about the concomitant use of self-administered medications (see section 4.5).Osteonecrosis: Although the etiology is considered to be multifactorial (including corticosteroid use, alcohol consumption, severe immunosuppression, higher body mass index), cases of osteonecrosis have been reported particularly in patients with advanced HIV-disease and/or long-term exposure to combination antiretroviral therapy (CART). Patients should be advised to seek medical advice if they experience joint aches and pain, joint stiffness or difficulty in movement.Patients co-infected with hepatitis C virus: The concomitant use of ribavirin with zidovudine is not recommended due to an increased risk of anaemia (see section 4.5).Latex allergy: The rubber stopper of the Retrovir IV for Infusion vials contains dry natural latex rubber that has the potential to cause allergic reactions in latex sensitive individuals.
Sodium: This medicinal product contains less than 1 mmol sodium (23 mg) per dosage unit, that is to say essentially 'sodium-free'.
As a general rule, when deciding to use antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV infection in pregnant women and consequently for reducing the risk of HIV vertical transmission to the newborn, the animal data (see section 5.3) as well as the clinical experience in pregnant women should be taken into account. In the present case, the use in pregnant women of zidovudine, with subsequent treatment of the newborn infants, has been shown to reduce the rate of maternal-foetal transmission of HIV.
A large amount of data on pregnant women (more than 3000 outcomes from first trimester and more than 3000 outcomes from second and third trimester exposure) indicate no malformative toxicity. Retrovir can be used during pregnancy if clinically needed. The malformative risk is unlikely in humans based on the mentioned large amount of data.
Zidovudine has been associated with reproductive toxicity findings in animal studies (see section 5.3). The active ingredients of Retrovir may inhibit cellular DNA replication and zidovudine has been shown to be a transplacental caricinogen in one animal study. The clinical relevance of these findings is unknown. Placental transfer of zidovudine has been shown to occur in humans.
Mitochondrial dysfunction: nucleoside and nucleotide analogues have been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo to cause a variable degree of mitochondrial damage. There have been reports of mitochondrial dysfunction in HIV-negative infants exposed in utero and/or post-natally to nucleoside analogues (see section 4.4).Fertility:Zidovudine did not impair male or female fertility in rats given oral doses of up to 450 mg/kg/day. There are no data on the effect of Retrovir on human female fertility. In men, Retrovir has not been shown to affect sperm count, morphology or motility. Breast-feeding: After administration of a single dose of 200 mg zidovudine to HIV-infected women, the mean concentration of zidovudine was similar in human milk and serum. It is recommended that mothers infected by HIV do not breast-feed their infants under any circumstances in order to avoid transmission of HIV.
In HIV-infected patients with severe immune deficiency at the time of initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (CART), an inflammatory reaction to asymptomatic or residual opportunistic infections may arise. Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease and autoimmune hepatitis) have also been reported; however, the reported time to onset is more variable and these events can occur many months after initiation of treatment (see section 4.4).Cases of osteonecrosis have been reported, particularly in patients with generally acknowledged risk factors, advanced HIV disease or long-term exposure to combination antiretroviral therapy (CART). The frequency of this is unknown (see section 4.4). Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme website: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
Symptoms and signs:
No specific symptoms or signs have been identified following acute oral overdose with zidovudine apart from those listed as undesirable effects..
Patients should be observed closely for evidence of toxicity (see section 4.8) and given the necessary supportive therapy.
Haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis appear to have a limited effect on elimination of zidovudine but enhance the elimination of the glucuronide metabolite.
Further management should be as clinically indicated or as recommended by the national poisons centre, where available.
Mode of action:Zidovudine is an antiviral agent which is highly active in vitro against retroviruses including the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).Zidovudine is phosphorylated in both infected and uninfected cells to the monophosphate (MP) derivative by cellular thymidine kinase. Subsequent phosphorylation of zidovudine-MP to the diphosphate (DP), and then the triphosphate (TP) derivative is catalysed by cellular thymidylate kinase and non-specific kinases respectively. Zidovudine-TP acts as an inhibitor of and substrate for the viral reverse transcriptase. The formation of further proviral DNA is blocked by incorporation of zidovudine-MP into the chain and subsequent chain termination. Competition by zidovudine-TP for HIV reverse transcriptase is approximately 100-fold greater than for cellular DNA polymerase alpha.
Clinical virology:The relationships between in vitro susceptibility of HIV to zidovudine and clinical response to therapy remain under investigation. In vitro sensitivity testing has not been standardised and results may therefore vary according to methodological factors. Reduced in vitro sensitivity to zidovudine has been reported for HIV isolates from patients who have received prolonged courses of Retrovir therapy. The available information indicates that for early HIV disease, the frequency and degree of reduction of in vitro sensitivity is notably less than for advanced disease.The reduction of sensitivity with the emergence of zidovudine resistant strains limits the usefulness of zidovudine monotherapy clinically. In clinical studies, clinical end-point data indicate that zidovudine, particularly in combination with lamivudine, and also with didanosine or zalcitabine results in a significant reduction in the risk of disease progression and mortality. The use of a protease inhibitor in a combination of zidovudine and lamivudine, has been shown to confer additional benefit in delaying disease progression, and improving survival compared to the double combination on its own.The anti-viral effectiveness in vitro of combinations of anti-retroviral agents are being investigated. Clinical and in vitro studies of zidovudine in combination with lamivudine indicate that zidovudine-resistant virus isolates can become zidovudine sensitive when they simultaneously acquire resistance to lamivudine. Furthermore there is clinical evidence that zidovudine plus lamivudine delays the emergence of zidovudine resistance in anti-retroviral naive patients.No antagonistic effects in vitro were seen with zidovudine and other antiretrovirals (tested agents: abacavir, didanosine, lamivudine and interferon-alpha).Resistance to thymidine analogues (of which zidovudine is one) is well characterised and is conferred by the stepwise accumulation of up to six specific mutations in the HIV reverse transcriptase at codons 41, 67, 70, 210, 215 and 219. Viruses acquire phenotypic resistance to thymidine analogues through the combination of mutations at codons 41 and 215 or by the accumulation of at least four of the six mutations. These thymidine analogue mutations alone do not cause high-level cross-resistance to any of the other nucleosides, allowing for the subsequent use of any of the other approved reverse transcriptase inhibitors.Two patterns of multi-drug resistance mutations, the first characterised by mutations in the HIV reverse transcriptase at codons 62, 75, 77, 116 and 151 and the second involving a T69S mutation plus a 6-base pair insert at the same position, result in phenotypic resistance to AZT as well as to the other approved nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Either of these two patterns of multinucleoside resistance mutations severely limits future therapeutic options.In the US ACTGO76 trial, Retrovir was shown to be effective in reducing the rate of maternal-foetal transmission of HIV-1 (23% infection rate for placebo versus 8% for zidovudine) when administered (100 mg five times a day) to HIV-positive pregnant women (from week 14-34 of pregnancy) and their newborn infants (2 mg/kg every 6 hours) until 6 weeks of age. In the shorter duration 1998 Thailand CDC study, use of oral Retrovir therapy only (300 mg twice daily), from week 36 of pregnancy until delivery, also reduced the rate of maternal-foetal transmission of HIV (19% infection rate for placebo versus 9% for zidovudine). These data, and data from a published study comparing zidovudine regimens to prevent maternal-foetal HIV transmission have shown that short maternal treatments (from week 36 of pregnancy) are less efficacious than longer maternal treatments (from week 14-34 of pregnancy) in the reduction of perinatal HIV transmission.
Absorption:Dose-independent kinetics were observed in patients receiving one-hour infusions of 1 to 5 mg/kg 3 to 6 times daily. Mean steady state peak (Cssmax) and trough (Cssmin) plasma concentrations in adults following a one-hour infusion of 2.5 mg/kg every 4 hours were 4.0 and 0.4 µM, respectively (or 1.1 and 0.1 µg/ml).
Distribution:The mean terminal plasma half-life was 1.1 hours, the mean total body clearance was 27.1 ml/min/kg and the apparent volume of distribution was 1.6 litres/kg. In adults, the average cerebrospinal fluid/plasma zidovudine concentration ratio 2 to 4 hours after chronic intermittent oral dosing was found to be approximately 0.5. Data indicate that zidovudine crosses the placenta and is found in amniotic fluid and foetal blood. Zidovudine has also been detected in semen and milk. Plasma protein binding is relatively low (34 to 38%) and drug interactions involving binding site displacement are not anticipated.
Biotransformation:Zidovudine is primarily eliminated by hepatic conjugation to an inactive glucoronidated metabolite. The 5'-glucuronide of zidovudine is the major metabolite in both plasma and urine, accounting for approximately 50-80% of the administered dose eliminated by renal excretion. 3'-amino-3'-deoxythymidine (AMT) has been identified as a metabolite of zidovudine following intravenous dosing.
Elimination:Renal clearance of zidovudine greatly exceeds creatinine clearance, indicating that significant tubular secretion takes place.
Absorption:In children over the age of 5-6 months, the pharmacokinetic profile of zidovudine is similar to that in adults. Cssmax levels were 1.46 µg/ml following an intravenous dose of 80 mg zidovudine/m2 body surface area, 2.26 µg/ml following 120 mg/m2 and 2.96 µg/ml following 160 mg/m2.
Distribution:With intravenous dosing, the mean terminal plasma half-life and total body clearance were 1.5 hours and 30.9 ml/min/kg respectively. In children the mean cerebrospinal fluid/plasma zidovudine concentration ratio ranged from 0.52-0.85, as determined during oral therapy 0.5 to 4 hours after dosing and was 0.87 as determined during intravenous therapy 1-5 hours after a 1 hour infusion. During continuous intravenous infusion, the mean steady-state cerebrospinal fluid/plasma concentration ratio was 0.24.
Biotransformation:The major metabolite is 5'-glucuronide. After intravenous dosing, 29% of the dose was recovered unchanged in the urine and 45% excreted as the glucuronide.
Elimination:Renal clearance of zidovudine greatly exceeds creatinine clearance indicating that significant tubular secretion takes place.The data available on the pharmacokinetics in neonates and young infants indicate that glucuronidation of zidovudine is reduced with a consequent increase in bioavailability, reduction in clearance and longer half-life in infants less than 14 days old but thereafter the pharmacokinetics appear similar to those reported in adults.
Pregnancy:The pharmacokinetics of zidovudine has been investigated in a study of eight women during the third trimester of pregnancy. As pregnancy progressed, there was no evidence of drug accumulation. The pharmacokinetics of zidovudine was similar to that of non-pregnant adults. Consistent with passive transmission of the drug across the placenta, zidovudine concentrations in infant plasma at birth were essentially equal to those in maternal plasma at delivery.
Elderly:No specific data are available on the pharmacokinetics of zidovudine in the elderly.
Renal impairment:Compared to healthy subjects, patients with advanced renal failure have a 50% higher peak plasma concentration after oral administration. Systemic exposure (measured as area under the zidovudine concentration time curve) is increased 100%; the half-life is not significantly altered. In renal failure there is substantial accumulation of the major glucuronide metabolite but this does not appear to cause toxicity. Haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis have no significant effect on zidovudine elimination whereas elimination of the inactive glucuronide metabolite is increased. (see section 4.2).
Hepatic impairment:There are limited data concerning the pharmacokinetics of zidovudine in patients with hepatic impairment (see section 4.2). No specific data are available on the pharmacokinetics of zidovudine in the elderly.
Mutagenicity:No evidence of mutagenicity was observed in the Ames test. However, zidovudine was weakly mutagenic in a mouse lymphoma cell assay and was positive in an in vitro cell transformation assay. Clastogenic effects (chromosome damage) were observed in an in vitro study in human lymphocytes and in in vivo oral repeat dose micronucleus studies in rats and mice. An in vivo cytogenetic study in rats did not show chromosomal damage. A study of the peripheral blood lymphocytes of eleven AIDS patients showed a higher chromosome breakage frequency in those who had received Retrovir than in those who had not. A pilot study has demonstrated that zidovudine is incorporated into leukocyte nuclear DNA of adults, including pregnant women, taking zidovudine as treatment for HIV-1 infection, or for the prevention of mother to child viral transmission. Zidovudine was also incorporated into DNA from cord blood leukocytes of infants from zidovudine-treated mothers. A transplacental genotoxicity study conducted in monkeys compared zidovudine alone with the combination of zidovudine and lamivudine at human-equivalent exposures. The study demonstrated that foetuses exposed in utero to the combination sustained a higher level of nucleoside analogue-DNA incorporation into multiple foetal organs, and showed evidence of more telomere shortening than in those exposed to zidovudine alone. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown.
Carcinogenicity:In oral carcinogenicity studies with zidovudine in mice and rats, late appearing vaginal epithelial tumours were observed. A subsequent intravaginal carcinogenicity study confirmed the hypothesis that the vaginal tumours were the result of long term local exposure of the rodent vaginal epithelium to high concentrations of unmetabolised zidovudine in urine. There were no other drug-related tumours observed in either sex of either species. In addition, two transplacental carcinogenicity studies have been conducted in mice. One study, by the US National Cancer Institute, administered zidovudine at maximum tolerated doses to pregnant mice from day 12 to 18 of gestation. One year post-natally, there was an increase in the incidence of tumours in the lung, liver and female reproductive tract of offspring exposed to the highest dose level (420 mg/kg term body weight). In a second study, mice were administered zidovudine at doses up to 40 mg/kg for 24 months, with exposure beginning prenatally on gestation day 10. Treatment related findings were limited to late-occurring vaginal epithelial tumours, which were seen with a similar incidence and time of onset as in the standard oral carcinogenicity study. The second study thus provided no evidence that zidovudine acts as a transplacental carcinogen.It is concluded that the transplacental carcinogenicity data from the first study represents a hypothetical risk, whereas the reduction in risk of maternal transfection of HIV to the uninfected child by the use of zidovudine in pregnancy has been well proven.
Studies in pregnant rats and rabbits given zidovudine orally at dosage levels up to 450 and 500 mg/kg/day respectively during the major period of organogenesis have revealed no evidence of teratogenicity. There was, however, a statistically significant increase in foetal resorptions in rats given 150 to 450 mg/kg/day and in rabbits given 500 mg/kg/day.
A separate study, reported subsequently, found that rats given a dosage of 3000 mg/kg/day, which is very near the oral median lethal dose (3683 mg/kg), caused marked maternal toxicity and an increase in the incidence of foetal malformations. No evidence of teratogenicity was observed in this study at the lower dosages tested (600 mg/kg/day or less).
17 June 2021