Medically reviewed on September 5, 2018
- This medicine may have unsafe effects on the bone marrow. This includes low white blood cell counts and very bad anemia. The bone marrow may not be able to make cells found in the blood as well as it used to.
- This medicine may cause muscle aches and stiffness if it is used for long periods of time. Closely read the part in this leaflet that lists when to call the doctor.
- This medicine may rarely cause swollen liver and an acid health problem in the blood. This may be deadly in some cases. The chance may be higher in women, in overweight people, and in people who have taken drugs like this one for a long time. Talk with your doctor.
- Hepatitis B has gotten worse when Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) was stopped in some people with hepatitis B. Close follow-up for a few months is needed when therapy is stopped in people who have hepatitis B. Do not stop taking Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) without calling your doctor. Talk with your doctor.
Uses of Combivir:
- It is used to treat HIV infection.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Combivir?
- If you have an allergy to zidovudine, lamivudine, or any other part of Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you weigh less than 66 pounds (30 kilograms).
- If you have any of these health problems: Kidney disease or liver disease.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Doxorubicin, ribavirin, or stavudine.
- If you are taking a drug that has sorbitol in it.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine).
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Combivir?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Do not take more than what your doctor told you to take. Taking more than you are told may raise your chance of very bad side effects.
- This medicine is not a cure for HIV. Stay under the care of your doctor.
- This medicine does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your doctor.
- Loss of body fat in the legs, arms, buttocks, and face can happen with Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine). This may not go back to normal. It is not known how this loss of body fat may affect health over a long time. You will need to be checked for any changes in body fat while you take Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine). If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- A pancreas problem (pancreatitis) has happened in children taking lamivudine with or without other HIV drugs. Sometimes this has been deadly. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- If you have hepatitis C and HIV, talk with your doctor. Liver function has gotten worse in people who were taking Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) and interferon alfa with or without ribavirin. Sometimes, this has been deadly.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) while you are pregnant.
How is this medicine (Combivir) best taken?
Use Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Keep taking Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- It is important that you do not miss or skip a dose of Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) during treatment.
- If you have trouble swallowing, talk with your doctor.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- If you are not sure what to do if you miss a dose, call your doctor.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of too much lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis) like fast breathing, fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, very bad upset stomach or throwing up, feeling very sleepy, shortness of breath, feeling very tired or weak, very bad dizziness, feeling cold, or muscle pain or cramps.
- Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Low mood (depression).
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Muscle pain or weakness.
- Change in body fat.
- Changes in your immune system can happen when you start taking drugs to treat HIV. If you have an infection that you did not know you had, it may show up when you take Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine). Tell your doctor right away if you have any new signs after you start Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine), even after taking it for several months. This includes signs of infection like fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, or shortness of breath.
What are some other side effects of Combivir?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Runny nose.
- Stuffy nose.
- Not hungry.
- Not able to sleep.
- Stomach pain.
- Stomach cramps.
- Joint pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Combivir?
- Store at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine)
- Combivir Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 3 Reviews
- Generic Availability
- Drug class: antiviral combinations