Combivir – What you need to know

combHIV is a virus that affects the lives of people around the world. These people have the chance to live longer and stronger lives through the help of Combivir. This is a drug that helps to keep the HIV virus from reproducing in the human body. This means that it stops the HIV virus from spreading to other vital parts of the body. While this medication is used to treat HIV, Combivir is not a cure for either HIV or AIDS but helps to boost the immune system, thereby lowering the chances of having with other health complications such as cancer and infections.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997, Combivir is meant specifically for treating those infected with the HIV virus.It should also be noted that the drug can only be used by infected adults and children who are more than thirty (30) kilograms in body weight.

Functions of Combivir

The antiviral drug Combivir, while it cannot cure HIV or AIDS, helps to improve the quality of life of HIV carriers and lowers the chances of being infected with other health complications such as cancer.It boosts the immune system and inhibits the spread of the virus.

Properties of Combivir

Combivir, as earlier stated, is a combination of two drugs named lamivudine and zidovudine which are also antiretroviral medications.

Lamivudine is called a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). With the chemical name (2Rcis)-4-amino-1-(2-hydroxymethyl-1,3-oxathiolan-5-yl)(1H)-pyrimidin-2-one, Lamivudine has a white to off-white crystalline solid that is soluble in water. ( It also inhibits the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Also referred to as (-)2′,3′-dideoxy, 3′-thiacytidine, it has a molecular formula of C8H11N3O3S and a molecular weight of 229.3 g per molecule.


Zidovudine, which is another HIV medicine, is also an NRTI. It is a white to beige, odourless crystalline solid that is soluble in water at 25°C, at 20.1mg per ml. Its chemical name is 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine and it has a molecular formula of C10H13N5O4 and a molecular weight of 267.24 g per molecule.


Combivir can be taken with or without food but it must be taken strictly. Taking it with food may minimize stomach upset. For adults and paediatric patients who weigh more than thirty (30) kilograms, one tablet must be taken twice a day.

Precautions and warnings

Some precautions, prescribed by, that must be taken when using Combivir include:

  • This medication should not be taken if you have ever had an allergic reaction to Combivir or any medicine that contains lamivudine, zidovudine, or emtricitabine, such as Atripla, Emtriva, Epivir, Epzicom, among others.
  • You should get emergency medical help if you experience symptoms like nausea with vomiting, breathing problems, numbness or coldness in arms and legs, dizziness, stomach pain, tiredness and even weakness. These symptoms may occur because of developing lactic acidosis which occurs because of improper clearance of lactic acid from the blood.
  • You should also avoid closeness with sick people or people with infections. You must notify your doctor if you see any signs of infection.
  • You should also avoid activities that may cause a bleeding injury.
  • Combivir can be used in combination with other HIV drugs.
  • Do not use Combivir if the original seal over the bottle opening is broken or missing.

Side effects

The side effects of using Combivir may include bone marrow problems, such as decreased production of red blood cells and/or white blood cells, myopathy (damage to the muscles, including the heart), a liver disease which occurs when the medication is abruptly stopped. Combivir can affect the pancreas and effect changes in body fat.

Combivir can also cause nasal stuffiness, coughing and sneezing, which may be accompanied by pain.

(Please note that these are not all the possible side effects of Combivir. Please read the medicine package for more information).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I skip on the dosage?

No, you should not skip it unless your healthcare provider tells you to.

What should I do if I forget to take a dose?

You should take the dose as soon as you remember but only at the right time when you are supposed to take it.

Can I take two doses at once?

No, you must not take two doses at once because you missed one dose. You should take the missed dose at the right time.

What should I do if I feel uncomfortable or weak?

You should notify your health care provider if you feel any changes in your body systems.