Drug information

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Brand Name:
Combivir
Other Names:
3TC / ZDV, 3TC / AZT
Drug Class:
Combination Drugs
Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (lamivudine, zidovudine)
Drug Image(s): (Click to enlarge)
 
What are the most important things to know about Combivir?What are the most important things to know about Combivir?

What are the most important things to know about Combivir?

Combivir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include a buildup of lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis), liver problems, muscle disease (myopathy), and blood disorders such as a very low number of red blood cells (severe anemia) or lower than normal number of white blood cells (neutropenia).

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of lactic acidosis:

  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Unusual muscle pain
  • Shortness of breath or fast breathing
  • Stomach pain with nausea and vomiting
  • Cold or blue hands and feet
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fast or abnormal heartbeat

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of liver problems:

  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Light-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite for several days or longer
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area
  • Itching

Combivir may cause myopathy, especially when used for a long time. Contact your health care provider right away if you develop muscle weakness or pain.

Combivir can cause blood disorders such as a very low number of red blood cells (severe anemia) or lower than normal number of white blood cells (neutropenia). Keep all appointments to have your blood count checked while you’re taking Combivir.

If you have both HIV and hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) and take Combivir, your HBV infection may get much worse (flare-up) if you stop taking Combivir. Do not stop taking Combivir without first talking to your health care provider. 

Worsening of liver disease (sometimes resulting in death) has occurred in people who have both HIV and hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) and who are taking HIV medicines interferon with or without ribavirin. If you are taking Combivir as well as interferon with or without ribavirin and you experience new side effects, tell your health care provider.

While taking Combivir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.

What is Combivir?What is Combivir?

What is Combivir?

 

Combivir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children who weigh at least 66 lb (30 kg). Combivir is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.

Combivir contains two different medicines: lamivudine and zidovudine.

For more information on the use of Combivir in people with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV and the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection

HIV medicines can’t cure HIV/AIDS, but taking HIV medicines every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. If you are taking HIV medicines, don’t cut down on, skip, or stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking Combivir?What should I tell my health care provider before taking Combivir?

What should I tell my health care provider before taking Combivir?

 

Before taking Combivir, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to either of the medicines in Combivir (lamivudine or zidovudine) or any other medicines.
  • If you have any blood disorders, such as anemia or neutropenia.
  • If you have myopathy (muscle disease).
  • If you have kidney problems.
  • If you have liver problems, such as hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) or hepatitis C virus infection (HCV).
  • If you have had inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • If you have any other medical conditions.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of taking Combivir during pregnancy. For more information on the use of Combivir during pregnancy, please refer to the Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant Women with HIV Infection and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. For women with HIV in the United States, the Guideline does not recommend breastfeeding. Before your baby is born, or if you are already breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider to discuss alternative options for feeding your baby.
  • If you are using hormone-based birth control (such as pills, implants, or vaginal rings). For more information about using birth control and HIV medicines at the same time, view the HIVinfo HIV and Birth Control infographic. 
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Combivir may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how Combivir works. Taking Combivir together with certain medicines or products may cause serious, life-threatening side effects.
How should I take Combivir?How should I take Combivir?

How should I take Combivir?

 

Combivir comes in tablet form. Each tablet contains:

Take Combivir according to your health care provider’s instructions.

Take Combivir by mouth with or without food. Tell your health care provider if your child has trouble swallowing Combivir tablets. 

Always take Combivir in combination with other HIV medicines.

If you take too much Combivir, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

For more information on how to take Combivir, see the FDA drug label

What should I do if I forget a dose?What should I do if I forget a dose?

What should I do if I forget a dose?

 

If you miss a dose of Combivir, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.

What side effects can Combivir cause?What side effects can Combivir cause?

What side effects can Combivir cause?

 

Combivir may cause side effects. Some side effects of Combivir can be serious as noted above. Many side effects from HIV medicines, such as nausea or occasional dizziness, are manageable. See the HIVinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects for more information.

Other possible side effects of Combivir include:

  • Changes in your immune system (called immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome or IRIS). IRIS is a condition that sometimes occurs when the immune system begins to recover after treatment with an HIV medicine. As the immune system gets stronger, it may have an increased response to a previously hidden infection.
  • Loss of body fat, particularly in the face, arms, legs and buttocks (lipoatrophy).
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Combivir. To learn more about possible side effects of Combivir, read the drug label or package insert or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist. 

You can report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online.

How should Combivir be stored?How should Combivir be stored?

How should Combivir be stored?

 

  • Store Combivir between 36°F and 86°F (2°C to 30°C).
  • Keep Combivir in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not use Combivir if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away Combivir that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep Combivir and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about Combivir?Where can I find more information about Combivir?

Where can I find more information about Combivir?

 

More information about Combivir is available:

Manufacturer Information

ViiV Healthcare

Main number: 877-844-8872
Patient assistance (ViiV Connect): 844-588-3288

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet.

 

Last Reviewed: November 17, 2020