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Combivir Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Combivir

Generic Name: lamivudine and zidovudine (Pronunciation: la MIV ue deen and zye DOE vue deen)

What is lamivudine and zidovudine (Combivir)?

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 purposes not listed in this medication guide.


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What are the possible side effects of lamivudine and zidovudine (Combivir)?

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.

Read the Combivir (lamivudine, zidovudine) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about lamivudine and zidovudine (Combivir)?

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).

Before taking lamivudine and zidovudine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, a pancreas disorder, bone marrow suppression, or problems with your muscles.

Lamivudine and zidovudine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using lamivudine and zidovudine. Visit your doctor regularly.

Some people develop lactic acidosis while taking lamivudine and zidovudine. Early symptoms may get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, slow or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.

Side Effects Centers

Combivir - User Reviews

Combivir User Reviews

Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.

Here is a collection of user reviews for the medication Combivir sorted by most helpful. Patient Discussions FAQs

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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