What is Combivir?

Combivir is an antiviral medication containing a combination of lamivudine and zidovudine which are in a group of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medicines called reverse transcriptase inhibitors.

Combivir works by helping to keep the HIV virus from reproducing in the body.

Combivir is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Important Information

Below are a number of key points you should consider before taking Combivir. As with all prescription drugs, consult a medical professional prior to starting to take Combivir.

If you are taking eitherlamivudine andzidovudine, you should not take Combivir. These medications include: Epivir, Retrovir, Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine), and Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, zidovudine).

You should tell your doctor before taking Combivir if you have kidney disease, liver disease, a pancreas disorder, bone marrow suppression, or problems with your muscles.

When you are taking Combivir, you could suffer from a lower count of the blood cells that help your body to fight infections. This can make it easier for you to get sick. In order to keep control of your white blood cell count, you should have your blood tested often.

There is a chance that if you have hepatitis B and stop taking Combivir, you may develop liver symptoms, even months after stopping treatment. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using Combivir. Visit your doctor regularly.

In some people, treatment with Combivir has been shown to cause lactic acidosis which can be fatal. You should seek 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.

What should I know before taking Combivir?

Below are guidelines you should follow when taking Combivir:

Tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions prior to starting Combivir:


liver disease (including hepatitis);

kidney disease;

bone marrow suppression; or

problems with your muscles.

If you are pregnant while taking Combivir, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the outcome of the pregnancy and evaluate any effects of the medication on the baby.

If you have HIV or AIDS, you should not breastfeed as the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast-milk.

Combivir should not be given to a child that weighs less than 66 pounds.

Store Combivir at room temperature, away from direct light, moisture, and heat.


The active ingredients in Combivir are lamivudine and zidovudine.


Some patients taking Combivir have developed lactic acidosis (a build-up of lactic acid in the body) which can be fatal. You should see immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:

trouble breathing;

numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs;

muscle pain or weakness;

slow or uneven heart rate.

feeling dizzy, light-headed, tired, or very weak; or

stomach pain, nausea with vomiting.

In addition, you could call your doctor if you experience any of these other serious side effects:

pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;

liver problems (stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

trouble swallowing, trouble standing up or climbing stairs;

fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

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.

Finally, some other less serious side effects include:

sleep problems (insomnia);

mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

numbness or tingling;

changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk);

headache, dizziness, tired feeling; or

cough, runny or stuffy nose.

Of course, this list is not comprehensive and you should alert your doctor of any other medications that you are taking including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and herbal products. It is also recommended that you not start taking any new medications without first discussing with your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Combivir Cure my HIV or AIDS?

No. Combivir Is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. It is meant as one part of a larger medicinal strategy in helping to control the growth of HIV in the body.

What’s in Combivir

The active ingredients in Combivir are lamivudine and zidovudine.

How does Combivir work?

The two medications in Combivir, lamivudine and zidovudine, both belong to a group of HIV medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). These medications work by blocking a process that the HIV virus needs in order to multiply.

Are there any drugs I can’t take in combination with Combivir?

Tell your doctor about any medications you are using but specially any of the following: doxorubicin (Adriamycin), stavudine (Zerit), interferon-alfa (Roferon, Intron, Rebetron), zalcitabine (Hivid), cancer treatments, ganciclovir (Cytovene), sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Proloprim, Septra, Trimpex, SMX-TMP), and ribavirin (Rebetol, Ribasphere, CopegusVirazole).

Can Combivir cause an allergic reaction? If so, what are the signs?

Seek immediate emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

What happens if I miss a dose of Combivir?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Under no circumstances should you take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.