Lamivudine/zidovudine (By mouth)
Lamivudine (la-MIV-ue-deen), Zidovudine (zye-DOE-vue-deen)
Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but it may slow the progress of the disease.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to lamivudine (Epivir®) or zidovudine (Retrovir®). Do not use this medicine if you have severe kidney disease or liver disease. Children who weigh less than 30 kilograms (66 pounds) should not use this medicine.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- You may take this medicine with or without food.
- Combivir® is used with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed as part of your treatment for HIV or AIDS.
- Your doctor may give you an oral liquid if your child has trouble swallowing tablets.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Do not take any other medicine containing emtricitabine, lamivudine, or zidovudine (such as Atripla®, Complera®, Emtriva®, Epivir®, Epzicom®, Retrovir®, Trizivir®, or Truvada®).
- Tell your doctor if you use doxorubicin (Adriamycin®), ganciclovir (Cytovene®), interferon-alfa (Intron®-A, Roferon®-A), ribavirin (Virazole®), stavudine (Zerit®), or zalcitabine (Hivid®). Make sure your doctor knows if you use medicines that weaken your immune system, such as a steroid or cancer treatment.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you have kidney disease, hepatitis B or C, bone marrow problems (such as anemia or a low white blood cell count), muscle problems, or pancreas problems.
- You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you might give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
- This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
- This medicine may cause a muscle disease called myopathy. Check with your doctor if you have muscle pain, swelling, tenderness, wasting, or weakness while you use this medicine.
- Lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity are rare but serious reactions to this medicine. These are more common if you are female, obese, or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms: stomach pain; dark urine; decreased appetite; diarrhea; general feeling of discomfort; light-colored stools; muscle pain; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; trouble breathing; vomiting; or yellow eyes or skin.
- Pancreatitis may occur while you use this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness.
- Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis.
- This medicine may cause changes to your body fat. Tell your doctor right away if you notice changes in your body shape, such as more fat in your neck or upper back or around your chest or stomach area. You may also lose fat from your legs, arms, or face.
- This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. You may need tests for several months after you stop using this medicine if you also have hepatitis.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
- Dark-colored urine or pale stools
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
- Muscle pain or tenderness
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in the upper stomach
- Trouble breathing
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, tiredness, or weakness
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Mild skin rash
- Mild tiredness
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013