Health Guide

Didanosine (By mouth)

Didanosine (dye-DAN-oh-seen)

Treats HIV infection. HIV causes AIDS. This medicine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but it may slow the progress of the disease.

Brand Name(s):

Videx EC, Videx Pediatric

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to didanosine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Delayed Release Capsule, Liquid

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you. Didanosine is taken together with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed at the right time each day.
  • Take all of the medicine in your prescription to clear up your infection, even if you feel better after the first few doses.
  • It is best to take this medicine on an empty stomach. The oral liquid should be taken at least 30 minutes before or 2 hours after you eat.
  • Delayed-release capsule: Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush, chew, break, or open it.
  • Oral liquid: Shake the bottle before using. Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Storage instructions:
    • Delayed-release capsule: Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
    • Oral liquid: Store the liquid in the refrigerator. Throw away any unused liquid medicine after 30 days.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine if you are also using allopurinol, ribavirin, or stavudine.
  • Some medicines can affect how didanosine works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Delavirdine, ganciclovir, hydroxyurea, indinavir, methadone, nelfinavir, tenofovir
    • Antacids containing aluminum or magnesium
    • Medicine to treat an infection (including ciprofloxacin, tetracycline)
  • If you are also using itraconazole or ketoconazole, take them at least 2 hours before using this medicine.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, pancreas problems, or a history of nerve problems. Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol.
  • Do not breastfeed. You can spread HIV or AIDS to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas)
    • Lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood)
    • Liver problems, including portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the portal vein of the liver)
    • Peripheral neuropathy (a nerve problem)
    • Eye or vision problems
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to others. Always practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles or other items that may have blood or body fluids on them.
  • Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. This could cause a hidden infection in your body to become active. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments. Your doctor may also want you to have your eyes checked regularly by an eye doctor.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Eye pain, blurred vision, dry eyes
  • Fast or troubled breathing, severe weakness, tiredness, confusion
  • Loss of fat from the arms, legs, or face
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • Slow or uneven heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, fever

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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