Generic Name: lamivudine and zidovudine (la MIV ue deen and zye DOE vue deen)Brand Names: Combivir
Lamivudine and zidovudine are antiviral medications. They are in a group of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medicines called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. This medication helps keep the HIV virus from reproducing in the body.
The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medication is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Lamivudine and zidovudine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.What is the most important information I should know about lamivudine and zidovudine?The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine (Combivir) should not be taken together with any other medications that contain either of these two drugs. This includes Epivir, Retrovir, Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine), and Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, zidovudine). Before taking lamivudine and zidovudine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, a pancreas disorder, bone marrow suppression, or problems with your muscles.
Lamivudine and zidovudine can lower the blood cells in your body that help you fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking lamivudine and zidovudine, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function on a regular basis for several months after you stop using this medication. Do not miss any scheduled visits.Some people have developed a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking lamivudine and zidovudine. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms of lactic acidosis, such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, slow or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking lamivudine and zidovudine?Do not use this medication if you are allergic to lamivudine or zidovudine. The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine (Combivir) should not be taken together with any other medications that contain either of the two drugs. This includes Epivir, Retrovir, Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine), and Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, zidovudine).
If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication. Before taking lamivudine and zidovudine, tell your doctor if you have:
bone marrow suppression; or
problems with your muscles.
Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using this medication.You should not breast-feed while you are using lamivudine and zidovudine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk. Do not give this medication to a child who weighs less than 66 pounds.
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Lamivudine and zidovudine can be taken with or without food.
HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.
Lamivudine and zidovudine can lower the blood cells in your body that help you fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis.
If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function at regular visits for several months after you stop using lamivudine and zidovudine. Do not miss any scheduled visits.Store lamivudine and zidovudine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
See also: Lamivudine and zidovudine dosage in more detail
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and seizure (convulsions).
Avoid contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop signs of infection.Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing needles, razors, or toothbrushes. Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.
muscle pain or weakness;
numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs;
feeling dizzy, light-headed, tired, or very weak;
stomach pain, nausea with vomiting; or
slow or uneven heart rate.
fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
trouble swallowing, trouble standing up or climbing stairs;
liver problems (stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes));
pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate); or
white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.
Less serious side effects may include:
changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk);
mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
numbness or tingling;
sleep problems (insomnia);
headache, dizziness, tired feeling; or
cough, runny or stuffy nose.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Usual Adult Dose for HIV Infection:
1 tablet orally twice a day
Usual Adult Dose for Nonoccupational Exposure:
1 tablet orally every 12 hours plus efavirenz or lopinavir-ritonavirProphylaxis should be initiated as soon as possible, within 72 hours of exposure.Duration: 28 days
Usual Adult Dose for Occupational Exposure:
Basic regimen for HIV postexposure prophylaxis: 1 tablet orally every 12 hoursTherapy should begin promptly, preferably within 1 to 2 hours postexposure. Duration: Generally 28 days; however, the exact duration of therapy may differ based on the institution's protocol.
Usual Pediatric Dose for HIV Infection:
30 kg or more: 1 tablet orally twice a day
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:
interferon-alfa (Roferon, Intron, Rebetron);
sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Proloprim, Septra, Trimpex, SMX-TMP); or
ribavirin (Rebetol, Ribasphere, Copegus Virazole).
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with lamivudine and zidovudine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.