What is lamivudine-zidovudine?

Lamivudine and zidovudine are antiviral medications. They are in a group of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medicines called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. This medication helps keep the HIV virus from reproducing in the body.

The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medication is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Lamivudine and zidovudine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to lamivudine or zidovudine. The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine (Combivir) should not be taken together with any other medications that contain either of the two drugs. This includes Epivir, Retrovir, Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine), and Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, zidovudine).

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication. Before taking lamivudine and zidovudine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease (including hepatitis);
  • pancreatitis;
  • bone marrow suppression; or
  • problems with your muscles.

Some people have developed a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking lamivudine and zidovudine. You may be more likely to develop lactic acidosis if you are overweight or have liver disease, if you are a woman, or if you have taken certain HIV or AIDS medications for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this medication is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking lamivudine and zidovudine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. HIV can be passed to the baby if the mother is not properly treated during pregnancy. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection while you are pregnant.

Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using this medication.

You should not breast-feed while you are using lamivudine and zidovudine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.

Do not give this medication to a child who weighs less than 66 pounds.

The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine (Combivir) should not be taken together with any other medications that contain either of these two drugs. This includes Epivir, Retrovir, Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine), and Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, zidovudine).

Avoid contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop signs of infection.

Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing needles, razors, or toothbrushes. Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and seizure (convulsions).

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

This medication may cause lactic acidosis (a build-up of lactic acid in the body, which can be fatal). Lactic acidosis can start slowly and get worse over time. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms of lactic acidosis, such as:

  • muscle pain or weakness;
  • numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs;
  • trouble breathing;
  • feeling dizzy, light-headed, tired, or very weak;
  • stomach pain, nausea with vomiting; or
  • slow or uneven heart rate.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • trouble swallowing, trouble standing up or climbing stairs;
  • liver problems (stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes));
  • pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate); or
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk);
  • mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • numbness or tingling;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • headache, dizziness, tired feeling; or
  • cough, runny or stuffy nose.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Interactions

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • cancer treatments;
  • stavudine (Zerit);
  • doxorubicin (Adriamycin);
  • zalcitabine (Hivid);
  • ganciclovir (Cytovene);
  • interferon-alfa (Roferon, Intron, Rebetron);
  • sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Proloprim, Septra, Trimpex, SMX-TMP); or
  • ribavirin (Rebetol, Ribasphere, Copegus Virazole).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with lamivudine and zidovudine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Combivir, lamivudine-zidovudine, and zidovudine-lamivudine

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Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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