Lamivudine and zidovudine (Oral)
Zidovudine has been associated with hematologic toxicity including neutropenia and severe anemia, particularly in patients with advanced HIV-1 disease. Prolonged use of zidovudine has been associated with symptomatic myopathy. Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported. Discontinue lamivudine/zidovudine if clinical or laboratory findings suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity occur. Severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis B have been reported in patients who are co-infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV-1 and have discontinued lamivudine, which is one component of lamivudine/zidovudine; monitor hepatic function upon discontinuation of use and if appropriate, initiate anti-hepatitis B therapy .
Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antiretroviral Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor
Uses For This Medicine
Lamivudine and zidovudine combination is used in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Lamivudine and zidovudine combination will not cure or prevent HIV infection or the symptoms of AIDS. Lamivudine and zidovudine helps keep HIV from reproducing, and appears to slow down the destruction of the immune system. This may help delay the development of serious health problems usually related to AIDS or HIV infection. Lamivudine and zidovudine combination will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people. People who receive lamivudine and zidovudine may continue to have other problems usually related to AIDS or HIV infection.
Lamivudine and zidovudine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For lamivudine and zidovudine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to lamivudine and zidovudine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Lamivudine and zidovudine combination contains a fixed amount of each medicine that cannot be decreased. Therefore, lamivudine and zidovudine is not recommended for patients who weigh less than 30 kilograms because the amounts of lamivudine and zidovudine in this product cannot be adjusted for smaller body sizes.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of lamivudine and zidovudine in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving lamivudine and zidovudine.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking lamivudine and zidovudine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using lamivudine and zidovudine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
- Vincristine Sulfate Liposome
Using lamivudine and zidovudine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Interferon Beta-1a
- Valproic Acid
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of lamivudine and zidovudine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Blood problems (eg, anemia, decreased bone marrow production) or
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), or history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Hepatitis B infection or
- Hepatitis C infection—May cause side effects to become worse.
- Kidney disease, severe or
- Liver disease—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
Proper Use of This Medicine
Take lamivudine and zidovudine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. Also, do not stop taking lamivudine and zidovudine combination without checking with your doctor first.
Keep taking lamivudine and zidovudine combination for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better.
Lamivudine and zidovudine works best when there is a constant amount in the blood. To help keep the amount constant, do not miss any doses. If you need help in planning the best times to take your medicine, check with your doctor.
Only take medicine that your doctor has prescribed specifically for you. Do not share your medicine with others.
Lamivudine and zidovudine combination contains a fixed amount of each medicine.
Lamivudine and zidovudine combination may be taken with or without food.
The dose of lamivudine and zidovudine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of lamivudine and zidovudine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection:
- Adults and children who weigh at least 30 kilograms (kg)—One tablet two times a day.
- Children who weigh less than 30 kg—Use is not recommended.
- For human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection:
If you miss a dose of lamivudine and zidovudine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions While Using This Medicine
It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits to make sure that lamivudine and zidovudine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Do not take any other medicine containing emtricitabine, lamivudine, or zidovudine (eg, Atripla®, Complera®, Emtriva®, Epivir®, Epzicom®, Retrovir®, Trizivir®, or Truvada®).
Do not take any other medicines without checking with your doctor first. To do so may increase the chance of side effects from lamivudine and zidovudine combination.
If you or your child have both HIV and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections, liver disease can become worse when lamivudine and zidovudine treatment is stopped. Discuss any changes in your treatment and medicines with your doctor.
Zidovudine may cause some serious side effects, including blood or bone marrow problems. Symptoms of a blood or bone marrow problem include fever, chills, sore throat, pale skin, or unusual tiredness or weakness. These problems may require blood transfusion or temporarily stopping treatment with lamivudine and zidovudine combination. Check with your doctor if any new health problems or symptoms occur while you or your child are taking lamivudine and zidovudine combination.
Two rare but serious reactions to lamivudine and zidovudine are lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms: abdominal discomfort or cramping, dark urine, decreased appetite, diarrhea, general feeling of discomfort, light-colored stools, muscle cramping or pain, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, trouble breathing, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin.
Tell your doctor if you or your child have severe muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if you take lamivudine and zidovudine for a long time.
When you or your child start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you have infections that are hidden in your body (eg, pneumonia or tuberculosis), you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, tell your doctor right away.
Lamivudine and zidovudine may cause you or your child to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor right away if you notice changes in your body shape, including an increased amount of body fat in the neck or upper back, face, around the chest, or stomach area. You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, or face.
Lamivudine and zidovudine does not decrease the risk of transmitting the HIV infection to others through sexual contact or by contaminated blood. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Avoid sharing needles with anyone.
This Medicine Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- pale skin
- sore throat
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Abdominal or stomach pain (severe)
- burning, tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- muscle tenderness and weakness
- skin rash
- yellow eyes or skin
Incidence not known
- Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- canker sores
- chest discomfort or pain
- dark urine
- decreased appetite
- difficulty with breathing
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
- fast, shallow breathing
- feeling of fullness
- general feeling of discomfort
- general tiredness and weakness
- hives or welts, itching
- itching, puffiness, or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- jerking of all extremities
- joint or muscle pain
- light-colored stools
- loss of bladder control
- muscle pain, spasms, stiffness, or cramping
- red skin lesions often with a purple center
- red, irritated eyes
- redness, soreness, or itching skin
- sensation of pins and needles
- sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips or tongue
- sores, welting or blisters
- stabbing pain
- sudden loss of consciousness
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
- tingling, burning, numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- tightness in the chest
- troubled with breathing
- unsteadiness or awkwardness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal or stomach pain (mild)
- decreased appetite
- trouble sleeping
Incidence not known
- Abnormal breathing
- blurred vision
- body fat redistribution or accumulation
- darkening of the skin and mucous membranes
- dry mouth
- flushed, dry skin
- fruit-like breath odor
- hair loss
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males
- swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
- thinning of the hair
- troubled breathing, unexplained
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: antiviral combinations
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