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An Overview of Combivir (AZT/3TC)

April 17, 2015

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How Should I Take Combivir?

Combivir comes in tablet form. Each tablet contains:

  • 150 mg lamivudine (brand name: Epivir).
  • 300 mg zidovudine (brand name: Retrovir).

Take Combivir according to your health care provider's instructions.

Always take Combivir in combination with other HIV medicines. Take Combivir with or without food.

If you take too much Combivir, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

For more information on how to take Combivir, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)

What Should I Do if I Forget a Dose?

If you miss a dose 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 can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactic acid in the blood), liver problems, muscle weakness (myopathy), and blood disorders such as severe anemia (extremely reduced numbers of red blood cells) or neutropenia (reduced numbers of white blood cells). (See the WARNING above.)

Other possible side effects of Combivir include:

  • Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), 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 infection. Tell your health care provider if you start having new symptoms after starting your HIV medicine.
  • Changes in body fat (lipodystrophy).
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

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 package insert or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.

The AIDSinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects also includes information that may apply to Combivir.

You can also report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online at

How Should Combivir Be Stored?

  • Store Combivir between 36°F and 86°F (2°C to 30°C) and away from excessive heat and moisture.
  • Do not use Combivir if the original seal over the bottle opening is broken or missing.
  • Keep Combivir in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • 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?

More information about Combivir is available:

Manufacturer Information

ViiV Healthcare

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet.

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This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.

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