1 What is Combivir?

Brand: Combivir

Generic: Lamivudine and zidovudine

Brand name:


Lamivudine and zidovudine is an antiviral combination used for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

This drug does not kill the virus but it delays the destruction of the immune system. This drug combination will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people. This drug requires a prescription.

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2 What to Know Before Using

Before taking this drug, the risks and benefits for your body should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications.

This drug is not recommended for patients who weigh less than 30 kilograms because the amounts of lamivudine and zidovudine in this product cannot be adjusted for smaller body sizes.

Studies in the elderly have not reported any geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of this drug.

Adjustments in the dose may be required in the elderly since they are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems.

Adverse effects have been reported in animals but studies in pregnant women or animals are still inadequate. Infant risk is still undetermined when taking this drug during breastfeeding.

Discuss with your healthcare professional about the risks and benefits of this drug before breastfeeding.

Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects.

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other drugs such as:

  • Amifampridine
  • Clarithromycin
  • Dapsone
  • Dasabuvir
  • Doxorubicin
  • Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
  • Flucytosine
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Pyrimethamine
  • Ribavirin
  • Stavudine
  • Vinblastine
  • Vincristine
  • Vincristine Sulfate Liposome
  • Acetaminophen
  • Fluconazole
  • Interferon Beta-1a
  • Methadone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Probenecid
  • Rifabutin
  • Rifampin
  • Rifapentine
  • Tipranavir
  • Valproic Acid

Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects.

Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as blood problems, pancreatitis, Hepatitis B infection or Hepatitis C infection, kidney or liver diseases.

3 Proper Usage

This drug must be taken exactly as directed by your healthcare professional. To prevent any side effects, take this drug exactly as directed on the label or as prescribed by your healthcare professional.

Follow the instructions on the label or as directed by your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional before you stop taking lamivudine and zidovudine combination.

Take this drug combination for the full time of treatment and this drug works optimally when there is a constant amount in the blood.

Lamivudine and zidovudine combination may be taken with or without food. The dose of this drug will be variable for different patients.

The directions on the label or the prescription by your healthcare professional should be followed. The dosage of this drug you take depends on the medical problem for which you are using this drug.

Adults, teenagers, and children who weigh 30 kilograms with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are given 150 milligrams of lamivudine and 300 mg of zidovudine two times a day.

Use and dose in adults and teenagers who weigh less than 30 kg must be determined by your healthcare professional. Use is not recommended for children who weigh less than 30 kg.

A missed dose should be taken as soon as possible. However, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule if it is almost time for your next dose.

Store the drug in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children.

Dispose any outdated or expired drugs and ask your healthcare professional for the proper disposal of the drugs.

4 Precautions to Take

Your health care provider should closely monitor the effectiveness of this drug as well as check for unwanted effects. Unwanted effects can be screened by blood tests.

Check with your healthcare professional before you take any other drugs. When treatment with this drug is stopped abruptly, HIV and hepatitis B virus infections, or liver disease may worsen.

Inform your healthcare professional for any serious side effects of Zidovudine such as fever, chills, sore throat, pale skin, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

A blood transfusion may be required for these symptoms or temporarily stopping treatment with lamivudine and zidovudine combination.

If you are infected, it is recommended to avoid any sexual activity involving an exchange of body fluids with other people.

Only use condoms made of latex, and use them every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Spermicides have been shown to kill HIV in lab tests.

Lubricants without oil, such as K-Y Jelly, are recommended and refrain from using oil-based jelly, cold cream, baby oil, or shortening as a lubricant as these products can cause the condom to break.

Birth control pills and diaphragms will not prevent the transmission of HIV virus. Sharing of needles or equipment with anyone is not recommended.

Lactic acidosis and hepatoxicity are rare but serious reactions to this drug. These side effects will be more common in female, very overweight, or have been taking anti-HIV drugs for a long time.

Consult with your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any symptoms of abdominal discomfort or cramping, dark urine, decreased appetite, diarrhea, general feeling of discomfort, light-colored stools, muscle cramping or pain, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, trouble breathing, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin, severe muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.

Taking this drug may make your immune system stronger and you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight hidden infections.

Inform your healthcare professional immediately 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 as this drug may cause you or your child to have excess body fat.

You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, or face. Breastfeeding is not recommended if you have HIV infection.

5 Potential Side Effects

Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur.

Consult with your healthcare professional immediately if you experience symptoms of:

  • chills
  • fever, pale skin
  • A sore throat
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • abdominal or stomach pain
  • burning
  • tingling
  • numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • muscle tenderness and weakness
  • nausea
  • skin rash
  • vomiting
  • yellow eyes or skin
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • canker sores
  • chest discomfort or pain
  • chills
  • convulsions
  • dark urine
  • decreased appetite
  • the difficulty with breathing
  • the difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • faintness
  • fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • the feeling of fullness
  • the general feeling of discomfort
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • hives or welts
  • itching
  • puffiness, or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • jerking of all extremities
  • joint or muscle pain
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of bladder control
  • muscle pain
  • spasms
  • stiffness, or cramping
  • red skin lesions often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes redness
  • soreness, or itching
  • skin sensation of pins and needles
  • shortness of breath
  • sleepiness
  • sores
  • ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips or tongue
  • sores
  • welting or blisters
  • stabbing pain
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • tingling
  • burning
  • numbness
  • pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing
  • unsteadiness or awkwardness
  • wheezing

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine, the side effects will slowly disappear.

Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

If any of the following side effects persists or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional.

Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.