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Lamivudine and zidovudine

Generic name: lamivudine and zidovudine [la-MIV-ue-deen-and-zye-DOE-vue-deen]
Brand name: Combivir
Oral tablet: 150 mg to 300 mg
Drug class: antiviral combinations

What is Lamivudine and zidovudine?

Zidovudine and Lamivudine are antiviral medicines that stop the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying within your body.A combination medicine of zidovudine and lamivudine can be used to treat HIV. This is the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency (AIDS). Lamivudine or zidovudine do not cure HIV/AIDS.This medication guide does not list all possible uses of zidovudine or lamivudine.

Side effects of Lamivudine and zidovudine

If you encounter symptoms indicative of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing or swelling to lips, face, tongue or throat - seek medical assistance immediately!The mild symptoms of lactic acidosis can worsen over time. This condition is fatal. If you experience: unusual muscular pain; difficulty breathing; stomach pain; nausea or dizziness

Both zidovudine and lamivudine can cause serious side effects. If you experience:

  • Liver problems: swelling around the midsection of your body; upper right stomach pain; lack of appetite; dark-coloured urine; clay-coloured stool; jaundice (yellowing skin or eyes);
  • Low red blood cells (anaemia): pale or pale-coloured skin, unusual fatigue, feeling lightheaded or short-of-breath, cold hands and/or feet
  • Low white blood cell count: fever; mouth sores or skin sores; sore neck; cough.
  • Pancreatitis: severe pain spreading from your upper stomach to your back. Nausea.

The immune system is affected by lamivudine or zidovudine, which can cause side effects. These may occur weeks or even months after taking the drug. You should tell your doctor if:

  • Signs of an infection: fever, sweats at night, swollen lymph glands, colds, sores, coughing, wheezing, and diarrhoea.
  • If you have difficulty speaking or swallowing, have problems with balance, eye movements, or weakness, or feel prickles or prickly, then it could be a sign of a more serious condition.
  • Impotence, menstrual changes, swelling of the neck or throat (enlarged thyroid)

Lamivudine or zidovudine can cause the following side effects:

  • Headache;
  • Nausea, diarrhoea
  • Tiredness, general ill feeling;
  • Cold symptoms like stuffy noses, sneezings, sinus pains, coughing
  • Loss of body fat, especially in the arms, legs, buttocks, and face.

There may be other side effects. For medical advice on side effects, call your doctor. Contacting the FDA in regards to potential side effects is easy: just dial 1-800-FDA-1088!


Do not take this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine that contains zidovudine or lamivudine.Zidovudine may cause signs of infection, such as fever, sores on the lips, skin, and mouth, flu-like symptoms, and pale skin. You will have to test your blood frequently. Zidovudine use can lead to muscle weakness or muscle tissue loss, similar to the "wasting syndrome" caused by HIV.You could develop lactic acidosis. This is a dangerous buildup of lactic acid in your blood. If you experience unusual muscle pains, difficulty breathing, stomach pains, dizziness, or feel cold or very tired, call your doctor.After stopping this medication, if you have ever had hepatitis B, it could become active or worsen. You may require frequent liver function testing for several months.

Before you take this drug

If you have an allergy to lamivudine, do not take zidovudine or lamivudine. Combivir should not be taken with other medicines that contain lamivudine or zidovudine. These include Atripla and Biktarvy.Lamivudine or zidovudine may also cause serious liver problems. Inform your doctor if any of the following conditions exist: Liver disease (especially hepatitis C).Zidovudine or Lamivudine is not recommended for HIV treatment in adolescents who weigh less than 66 lbs.

Tell your doctor about any of the following:

  • Kidney disease
  • Pancreas disorder (especially when a child is taking this medication
  • If you are taking ribavirin for the treatment of hepatitis C,

You can develop lactic acidosis. This is a dangerous accumulation of lactic acids in your blood. It may be more common if there are other medical conditions or if you have taken HIV medication for a long time. Consult your doctor to determine your risk.Use your medication properly to control infections. HIV can be transmitted to your child if you do not control the virus during pregnancy. You may have your name listed in a registry that tracks the effects of antiviral medicines on the baby.Breast-feeding is not recommended for women with HIV/AIDS. Even if the baby is not born with HIV, it can be transmitted to the child through your breast milk.

How to take Lamivudine and zidovudine?

Read all instructions or guides that come with your medication and follow all instructions on the label. Follow the directions on the label.This medicine can be taken with or without food.Read all the instructions and medication guides that you receive. Do not alter your dosage or schedule without consulting your doctor. Each person living with HIV should be under the care and supervision of a physician.Store away from heat and moisture at room temperature.If you have ever had the hepatitis B virus, it may become active again or worsen in the months following your cessation of lamivudine or zidovudine. You may require frequent liver function testing while taking this medication and for several weeks after you stop using it.

Details on dosage

Adult dose for HIV infection:

Take 1 tablet twice daily.
Use in combination with other antiretrovirals for treating HIV-1 infections.

Adult dose for non-occupational exposure:

US CDC recommendation: Take 1 tablet twice a day.
Duration of treatment: 28 days
recommended for use as part of a preferred NNRTI or protease-inhibitor-based regimen to prevent non-occupational HIV infection after exposure; may also be used as part of alternative regimens.
Prophylaxis must be initiated as soon as possible and within 72 hours after exposure.
For additional information, you should consult the current guidelines.

Adult dose for occupational exposure:

US Public Health Service Working Group Recommendations: Take 1 tablet twice daily orally.
Duration of treatment: 28 days if tolerated
recommended for use in alternative regimens of HIV postexposure prevention
Prophylaxis must be initiated as soon as possible, ideally within hours of exposure.
The optimal duration of prophylaxis may vary depending on the protocol used by each institution.
For additional information, you should consult the current guidelines.

The usual paediatric dose for HIV infection is:

If you weigh at least 30 kg, take 1 tablet twice daily.
Consult the product information for lamivudine or zidovudine from the manufacturer if the patient weighs less than 30kg.
Use in combination with other antiretrovirals for HIV-1 infection

What happens if I miss the dose?

If you are almost due for your next dose, skip the missed one. Never take two doses of the same medicine at once.

What happens if I overdose?

Reach out immediately if a poisonous situation develops - call the Poison Help Line on 1800222-1222, or seek medical assistance immediately.

What should be avoided?

Avoid taking any other medicines that contain the ingredient sorbitol. This is often used to sweeten liquid medications. If you're not sure whether a medication contains this ingredient, ask your pharmacist.Lamivudine or zidovudine won't stop your illness from spreading. Share razors and toothbrushes. Do not engage in unprotected sexual activity. Speak to your doctor about the best ways to prevent HIV from being transmitted during sex. Even healthy people should never share syringes for drugs or medicines.

Interaction with other drug

Tell your doctor about your other medications, including:

  • Ganciclovir;
  • Interferon alfa;

This list is incomplete. Lamivudine or zidovudine may be affected by other drugs, such as vitamins and herbs. This list does not include all possible interactions with other drugs.




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