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An Overview of Combivir (AZT/3TC)

August 23, 2013

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Combivir

Brand Name: Combivir
Other Name(s): 3TC/ZDV
Drug Class: Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Approved Use: Treatment of HIV Infection

WARNING:

Combivir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include blood disorders (including severe anemia), lactic acidosis (a buildup of acid in the blood), liver problems, and muscle disorders.

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal a blood disorder:

  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pale skin.
  • Fever.
  • Sore throat.
  • Chills.
  • Other signs of infection.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal lactic acidosis:

  • Feeling very weak or tired.
  • Unusual (not normal) muscle pain.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Stomach pain with nausea and vomiting.
  • Feeling cold, especially in the arms and legs.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat.

Contact your health care provider if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal liver problems:

  • Fatty and foul-smelling bowel movements.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Extreme tiredness.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Pain in the upper right part of your stomach.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice).
  • Flu-like symptoms.

Tell your health care provider if you have or have ever had any disease or swelling of the muscles. Contact your health care provider right away if have muscle pain or weakness.

Severe worsening of liver disease has occurred in some people co-infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV when they stopped treatment with lamivudine, an anti-HIV medicine included in Combivir. Worsening of liver disease, sometimes causing death, has also occurred in people co-infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV who were taking anti-HIV medicines and also being treated for HCV with interferon with or without ribavirin. Tell your health care provider about any side effects you have.

While taking Combivir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.


What is Combivir?

Combivir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children. Combivir is always used in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

Combivir contains the following two anti-HIV medicines combined in one pill: lamivudine and zidovudine. Lamivudine and zidovudine are types of anti-HIV medicines called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). NRTIs block HIV reverse transcriptase, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.

Combivir does not cure HIV/AIDS. It is not known if Combivir reduces the risk of passing HIV to other people.


What should I tell my health care provider before taking Combivir?

Before taking Combivir, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to or are taking other lamivudine-, zidovudine-, and/or emtricitabine-containing medicines (brand names: Epivir, Epivir-HBV, Retrovir, Epzicom, Trizivir, Atripla, Emtriva, Truvada, or Complera).
  • If you have or have ever had any blood disorders, such as anemia or bone marrow problems.
  • If you have or have ever had any disease or swelling of the muscles.
  • If you have or have ever had kidney problems.
  • If you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol.
  • If you have or have ever had liver disease.
  • If you have HBV or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Tell your health care provider right away if you are pregnant.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or are taking Combivir.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Combivir may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how Combivir works. Taking Combivir together with certain medicines or products may cause serious and/or life-threatening side effects.
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This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
 
See Also
More on HIV Medications
More on Combivir (AZT/3TC)
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