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Advice for the Patient

Neutropenia and Anemia

Patients should be informed that the important toxicities associated with zidovudine are neutropenia and/or anemia. They should be told of the extreme importance of having their blood counts followed closely while on therapy, especially for patients with advanced HIV-1 disease [see BOXED WARNING, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].


Patients should be informed that myopathy and myositis with pathological changes, similar to that produced by HIV-1 disease, have been associated with prolonged use of zidovudine [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Lactic Acidosis/Hepatomegaly

Patients should be informed that some HIV medicines, including COMBIVIR, can cause a rare, but serious condition called lactic acidosis with liver enlargement (hepatomegaly) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS )].

HIV-1/HBV Co-infection

Patients co-infected with HIV-1 and HBV should be informed that deterioration of liver disease has occurred in some cases when treatment with lamivudine was discontinued. Patients should be advised to discuss any changes in regimen with their physician [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Use With Other Lamivudine-, Zidovudine-, and/or Emtricitabine-Containing Products

COMBIVIR should not be coadministered with drugs containing lamivudine, zidovudine, or emtricitabine, including EPIVIR (lamivudine), EPIVIR-HBV (lamivudine), RETROVIR (zidovudine), EPZICOM (abacavir sulfate and lamivudine), TRIZIVIR (abacavir sulfate, lamivudine, and zidovudine), ATRIPLA (efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir), EMTRIVA (emtricitabine), TRUVADA (emtricitabine and tenofovir), or COMPLERA™ (rilpivirine/emtricitabine/tenofovir) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

HIV-1/HCV Co-Infection

Patients with HIV-1/HCV co-infection should be informed that hepatic decompensation (some fatal) has occurred in HIV-1/HCV co-infected patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1 and interferon alfa with or without ribavirin [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Drug Interactions

Patients should be cautioned about the use of other medications, including ganciclovir, interferon alfa, and ribavirin, which may exacerbate the toxicity of zidovudine [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].

Redistribution/Accumulation of Body Fat

Patients should be informed that redistribution or accumulation of body fat may occur in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy and that the cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known at this time [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Information About HIV-1 Infection

COMBIVIR is not a cure for HIV-1 infection and patients may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. Patients should remain under the care of a physician when using COMBIVIR.

Patients should be advised to avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 infection to others.

Do not share needles or other injection equipment.

Do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades.

Do not have any kind of sex without protection. Always practice safe sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom or other barrier method to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood.

Do not breastfeed. Lamivudine and zidovudine are excreted in human breast milk. Mothers with HIV-1 should not breastfeed because HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk.

Patients should be informed to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed.

Last reviewed on RxList: 12/16/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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