It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Do not use didanosine if you or your child are also using allopurinol (Zyloprim®) or ribavirin (Copegus®, Rebetol®). Using these medicines together may cause serious side effects.
It is important to tell your doctor if you become pregnant. Your doctor may want you to join a pregnancy registry for patients taking a anti-viral medicine.
HIV may be acquired from or spread to other people through infected body fluids, including blood, vaginal fluid, or semen. If you are infected, it is best to avoid any sexual activity involving an exchange of body fluids with other people. If you do have sex, always wear (or have your partner wear) a condom (“rubber”). Only use condoms made of latex, and use them every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The use of a spermicide (such as nonoxynol-9) may also help prevent transmission of HIV if it is not irritating to the vagina, rectum, or mouth. Spermicides have been shown to kill HIV in lab tests. Do not use oil-based jelly, cold cream, baby oil, or shortening as a lubricant—these products can cause the condom to break. Lubricants without oil, such as K-Y jelly, are recommended. Women may wish to carry their own condoms. Birth control pills and diaphragms will help protect against pregnancy, but they will not prevent someone from giving or getting the AIDS virus. If you inject drugs, get help to stop. Do not share needles or equipment with anyone. In some cities, more than half of the drug users are infected and sharing even 1 needle or syringe can spread the virus. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
This medicine may cause a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms: bloating; chills; constipation; darkened urine; a fast heartbeat; fever; indigestion; loss of appetite; nausea; pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back; vomiting; or yellow eyes or skin.
Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity, which includes an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms: abdominal or stomach discomfort or cramping; dark urine; decreased appetite; diarrhea; a general feeling of discomfort; light-colored stools; muscle cramping or pain; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; trouble with breathing; vomiting; or yellow eyes or skin.
Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have abdominal or stomach pain; black, tarry stools; bleeding gums; blood in the urine or stools; pinpoint red spots on the skin; or unusual bleeding or bruising. These may be symptoms of a condition called non-cirrhotic portal hypertension.
Tell your doctor right away if you or your child start having numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet. These may be symptoms of a condition called peripheral neuropathy.
When you or your child start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you have infections that are hidden in your body (e.g., pneumonia or tuberculosis), you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, tell your doctor right away.
This medicine may cause you or your child to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor right away if you notice changes in your body shape, including an increased amount of body fat in the neck or upper back, face, around the chest, or stomach area. You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, or face.
This medicine may cause changes in vision. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child start to see unusual colors or have blurred vision.
Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.