Didanosine (ddI) is one of the older NRTIs that is not often used.

It can cause side effects like facial wasting (lipoatrophy) and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage).

Read the complete MedWatch 2010 Safety summary including a link to the Drug Safety Communication, at:


Basic info

Generic name didanosine
Brand name Videx
Also known as Videx EC (enteric coated)
Drug class Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Pediatric dosing? Available in doses suitable for children and/or young people.
Availability in Australia Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) through S100 prescribers since
This drug may be available through clinical trials in Australia.
You may be able to import this drug from overseas for your personal use.
Formulation 250mg capsule;400mg capsule

Taking it

Like most anti-HIV drugs, didanosine must be taken in combination with other drugs to be completely effective. Commonly, didanosine is combined with one other nucleoside (NRTI) drug and either a protease inhibitor or non-nucleoside, although other combinations are sometimes used. Your doctor will advise you on the right combination of drugs to suit your circumstances.


The dose for people over 60kg is one 400mg capsule once a day. For people under 60kg the dose is 250mg once a day. ddI is considered to be safe for use in children over two weeks of age and is available as a buffered powder, but can cause a rare side effect in children that damages the eyes. ddI should be used with caution during pregancy. In the two hours before and after taking ddI, do not eat and drink nothing but water.

Regardless of what you read on this website or elsewhere, you should always take your medications according to your doctor's instructions. If you're unsure, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

With or without food

didanosine must be taken on an empty stomach

Side effect

All drugs can produce side effects in some people. These may be mild, moderate or severe, so you should be aware of potential side effects before starting any drug, and speak to your doctor if you experience side effects that concern you.

  • Common side effects may include diarrhoea, peripheral neuropathy, insomnia.
  • Less common side effects may include nausea (upset stomach, feeling sick to the stomach), vomiting, headache, rash, fever, chills, pain, dry mouth.
  • Rare side effects may include lipodystrophy, pancreatitis, lactic acidosis, liver damage.
  • It's unlikely you will experience all of these side effects, and you may not experience any side effects at all. Before starting any new drug, ask your doctor about side effects you might experience and discuss strategies for dealing with side effects if they do occur. If you experience any significant side effect you should continue taking your medicine and see your doctor as soon as possible.

Interactions with other drugs

Many other medications can reduce the amount of ddI that the body absorbs. Indinavir and ritonavir should not be taken within two hours of ddI. Tenofovir (viread) can increase levels of ddI by up to 64%, which puts patients at high risk of side effects such as pancreatitis and neuropathy. This combination can also cause a drop in CD4 cells and has also been linked to resistance. A number of drugs can increase the risk of ddI-related pancreatitis and should be avoided. These include d4T, demeclocycline, doxycycline, hydroxycarbamide, lymecycline, minocycline, oxytetracycline, pentamadine isetionate and tetracycline. Alcohol can also increase the risk of pancreatitis. Methadone may reduce the absorption of ddI.