Last update Dec. 21, 2022

Zalcitabine (ddC)

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

Antiretroviral. It is a cytidine derivative nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) with antiviral activity against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Oral administration every 8 hours.

Since the last update we have not found published data on its excretion in breastmilk.

Its pharmacokinetic data (low molecular weight and very low percentage of plasma protein binding) makes it likely that significant amounts will pass into breast milk.

Viral resistance appears easily and has frequent serious side effects (peripheral neuropathy, heart disease, liver disease, esophageal ulcers...) for which it has been withdrawn from the market in many countries.

During breastfeeding, other HIV/AIDS treatments are preferable.(Panel 2022)


Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Zalcitabine (ddC) is also known as

Zalcitabine (ddC) in other languages or writings:


Zalcitabine (ddC) belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Zalcitabine (ddC) in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 88 %
Molecular weight 211 daltons
Protein Binding 4 %
VD 0.3 - 0.7 l/Kg
pKa 14.67 -
Tmax 2 hours
2 hours


  1. Shelton MJ, O'Donnell AM, Morse GD. Zalcitabine. Ann Pharmacother. 1993 Apr;27(4):480-9. Review. Abstract

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