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.
- Sore throat.
- 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.
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 anti-HIV medicines. Take Combivir with or without food.
If you take too much Combivir, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
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?
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 blood disorders, lactic acidosis (a buildup of acid in the blood), liver problems, and muscle disorders. (See the WARNING above.)
Other possible side effects of Combivir include:
- Changes in the immune system (immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome).
- Changes in body fat (lipodystrophy).
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. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for more information on side effects of Combivir.
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.
- Keep the medicine in its original container and keep the container tightly closed.
- Throw away Combivir that is no longer needed or expired (out of date).
- Keep Combivir and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about Combivir?
More information about Combivir is available:
The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet
Last Reviewed: September 13, 2012
Last Updated: August 23, 2013