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Brand & Generic Names


Basic Information

  • Habit forming? No
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Available as generic? No
  • Drug class: Antiviral


  • Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • Treats acquired immunideficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Tablets--Chew or manually crush tablet. If crumble tablet, mix with at least 1 ounce of water and swallow immediately.
Buffered didanosine for oral solution--Dissolve packet contents in 4 ounces of water.

When to take:
At the same times each day, according to instructions on prescription label.

If you forget a dose:
Take as soon as yoou remember up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours, wait for next scheduled dose (don't double this dose).

What drug does:
Suppresses replication of human immunodeficiency virus.

Time lapse before drug works:
90 minutes.

Don't take with:
See Interaction section and consult doctor.




  • Dial 911 (emergency) or O (operator) for an ambulance or medical help. Then give first aid immediately.
  • See EMERGENCY information.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    Seizures. Seek emergency treatment immediately.


  • Tingling, numbness and burning in the feet and ankles.
  • Headache, anxiety, restlessness, digestive disturbances, diarrhea.


    Unusual tiredness and weakness, fever, chills, sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, yellow skin and eyes, skin rash.


    None expected.

Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:
You are allergic to didanosine.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you are an alcoholic.
  • If you have hypertriglyceridemia or pancreatitis.
  • If you have any condition requiring sodium restriction.
  • If you have liver disease, impaired liver function or peripheral neuropathy.
  • If you have gout.

Over age 60:
No special problems expected.

Unknown effect. Consult doctor.

Unknown effect. Consult doctor.

Infants & children:
May cause depigmentation of the retina. Children should have eye exams every 3-6 months to check for vision changes.

Prolonged use:
Talk with your doctor about the need for follow-up medical examination or laboratory studies to check blood serum and uric acid levels.

Skin & sunlight:
No special problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you. Don't work around dangerous machinery. Don't climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes, such as antihistamines, tranquilizers, sedatives, pain medicines, narcotics and mind-altering drugs.

Don't discontinue without consulting doctor. Dose may require gradual reduction if you have taken drug for a long time. Doses of other drugs may require adjustment.


  • Advise any doctor or dentist whom you consult that you take this medicine.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse or use condoms to help prevent the transmission of HIV.
  • Don't share needles or injectable equipment with other persons.
  • The drug zidovudine should be used as the initial treatment for HIV infection since there are no controlled studies as yet on the effectiveness of didanosine in prolonging survival or decreasing the incidence of opportunistic infections.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------- -----------------------
Asparaginase Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Azathioprine Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Chloramphenicol Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Dapsone Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Reduced absorption of both drugs.
Diuretics, thiazide* Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Estrogens* Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Ethambutol Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Ethionamide Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Fluoroquinolone Reduced antibiotic effect.
Furosemide Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Hydralazine Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Isoniazid Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Itraconazole Decreased absorption of itraconazole.
Ketoconazole Reduced absorption of both drugs.
Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Lithium Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Methyldopa Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Metronidazole Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Nitrofurantoin Increased risk of pancreatitis and
peripheral neuropathy.
Phenytoin Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Sulfonamides* Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Sulindac Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Tetracyclines Decreased antibiotic effect.
Valproic acid Increased risk of pancreatitis.
Vincristine Increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: Increased chance of pancreatitis or
peripheral neuropathy.
Beverages: No proven problems.
Cocaine: No proven problems.
Foods: No proven problems.
Marijuana: No proven problems.
Tobacco: No proven problems.

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