What are the most important things to know about Combivir?
Combivir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include a buildup of in the blood (), problems, muscle disease (), and blood disorders such as a very low number of red blood cells (severe ) or lower than normal number of white blood cells ().
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 ()
- 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/abdominal area
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 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.
Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms of severe anemia or neutropenia:
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Fever, chills, or other symptoms of
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Pale skin
If you have both HIV and (HBV) and take Combivir, the hepatitis B virus can change (mutate) during your treatment with Combivir and become harder to treat (resistant). Also, 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 (HCV) and who are taking HIV medicines and with or without ribavirin. If you are taking Combivir as well as interferon alfa 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?
Combivir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. (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.
Although Combivir is FDA-approved, it is no longer commonly used or recommended as an HIV treatment. The Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents with HIV no longer contain detailed or updated information on the use of Combivir. Please refer to the FDA drug label for additional information regarding the use of Combivir in people with HIV. For more information on the use of Combivir in children with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection.
HIV medicines cannot 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 . If you are taking HIV medicines, do not 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?
Before taking Combivir, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to any of the HIV medicines in Combivir (lamivudine or zidovudine) or any other medicines.
- If you have any blood disorders, such as or .
- If you have (muscle disease).
- If you have problems.
- If you have problems, such as
- If you have ever had inflammation of the ().
- 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 During Pregnancy and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States.
- If you are breast/chestfeeding or plan to breast/chestfeed. For people with HIV in the United States, the Guideline recommends speaking with your health care provider to discuss options for feeding your baby. People with suppressed have a less than 1% chance of transmitting HIV to their baby via their own milk.
- If you are using -based birth control (such as pills, , 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?
Combivir comes in tablet form. Each tablet contains:
Take Combivir according to your health care provider’s instructions. Do not miss a of Combivir, and do not change your dose or stop taking Combivir without first talking with your health care provider.
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 have taken too much Combivir, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222 or online) 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?
If you miss a 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?
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 (called 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 .
- Loss of body fat ().
- Inflammation of the ().
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 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?
- Store Combivir between 36°F and 86°F (2°C and 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?
- 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 with HIV and the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection.
- This Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet (film coated). The Patient Counseling Information section of the label includes information for people taking Combivir.
- The American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS) Patient Medication Information for lamivudine and zidovudine available from MedlinePlus.
- Combivir-related research studies, from ClinicalTrials.gov. (The ClinicalTrials.gov search can be modified so that you can get results that better match your interests.)
- A list of FDA-approved HIV medicines, from HIVinfo.
Main number: 877-844-8872
Patient assistance (ViiV Connect): 844-588-3288
Last Reviewed: November 30, 2023