Combivir

Generic Name: Zidovudine

  • What is Combivir?

    Combivir is used to treat HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which causes AIDS. It combines two drugs, lamivudine (Epivir) and zidovudine (Retrovir). Combivir is not a cure for HIV, and does not reduce the chances of spreading HIV to others.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Combivir?

    Lactic acidosis (a condition involving dangerously high levels of lactic acid in the blood) and an enlarged liver have been associated with lamivudine and zidovudine, the components of Combivir.

    Zidovudine has been associated with blood toxicity and anemia. Your doctor should monitor your blood counts regularly. Prolonged usage of zidovudine may cause muscle disease.

    A severe increase in the hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been reported in people who are already infected with both HBV and HIV and have stopped taking lamivudine.

  • Who should not take Combivir?

    Do not take Combivir if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Combivir?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Combivir. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you are having problems with your blood, muscles, kidneys, or liver (such as HBV infection).

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults and adolescents weighing ≥30 kg: The recommended dose is 1 tablet (containing 150 milligrams [mg] of lamivudine and 300 mg of zidovudine) twice daily.

  • How should I take Combivir?

    Take the Combivir tablets orally, with or without food.

  • What should I avoid while taking Combivir?

    Avoid breastfeeding your child; HIV can be passed to your baby through your breast milk. Do not stop treatment without talking to your doctor first.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Combivir?

    If Combivir is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Combivir with the following: doxorubicin, ganciclovir, interferon alfa, ribavirin, stavudine, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and zalcitabine.

  • What are the possible side effects of Combivir?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: abdominal pain or cramps, cough, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, fever or chills, headache, indigestion, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, nasal symptoms, nausea and vomiting, nerve damage, skin rashes, trouble sleeping, weakness and fatigue

  • Can I receive Combivir if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Combivir during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Also, you should not breastfeed your child if you are HIV-positive; breast milk contains the virus and can infect your baby. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Combivir?

    Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Combivir?

    Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

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I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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