Stavudine is an antiviral agent of the nucleoside analog class, which includes zidovudine (AZT), didanosine (ddI) and zalcitabine (ddC). Nucleoside analogs are thought to slow the progression of AIDS by inhibiting HIV replication. Data indicate that this class of drugs may delay the onset of AIDS symptoms in HIV-infected individuals, and may extend survival in some. Stavudine is specifically approved for the treatment of adults with advanced HIV infection who no longer respond to or are intolerant of other antiviral drugs.
Stavudine is an antiviral medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Stavudine inhibits the reproduction of HIV in the body. Stavudine is used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Stavudine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
The chemical name for stavudine is 2’,3’-didehydro-3’-deoxythymidine. Stavudine is a white to off-white crystalline solid with the molecular formula C10H12N2O4 and a molecular weight of 224.2. The solubility of stavudine at 23°C is approximately 83 mg/mL in water and 30 mg/mL in propylene gly-col. The n-octanol/water partition coefficient of stavudine at 23°C is 0.144.
Stavudine is in a class of drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors which also includes zalcitabine (Hivid), zidovudine (Retrovir), didanosine (Videx), and lamivudine (Epivir). During infection with HIV, the HIV virus multiplies within the body's cells. The newly-formed viruses then are released from the cells and spread throughout the body where they infect other cells. In this manner, the infection continually spreads to new, uninfected cells that the body is continually producing, and HIV infection is perpetuated. When producing new viruses, the HIV virus must manufacture new DNA for each virus. Reverse transcriptase is the enzyme that the virus uses to form this new DNA. Specifically, stavudine is converted within the body to its active form (stavudine triphosphate). This active form is similar to thymidine triphosphate, a chemical that is required by the HIV virus to make new DNA. The reverse transcriptase uses stavudine triphosphate instead of thymidine triphosphate for making DNA, and it is the stavudine triphosphate that interferes with the reverse transcriptase. Stavudine does not kill existing HIV virus and it is not a cure for HIV.