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What is Combivir (Lamivudine/Zidovudine) prescribed for?
This medication is a combination of two drugs; Lamivudine and Zidovudine It is usually used with other HIV medications to aid in the containment of a HIV infection. This medication helps decrease the amount of the HIV within your body so your immune system can function better. Overall, this medication can lower your chances of getting HIV complications, such as new infections and cancer, and improves your quality of life. Both Lamivudine and Zidovudine, the effective ingredients within Combivir, are part of a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Overall this medication may improve your lifestyle and help with HIV infections, but is not a cure for HIV. Consult your doctor for more information on this medication.
This medication is taken by mouth, with or without food. And taken usually 2 times a day or as directed to you by your doctor. Take this medication with a full glass of water, unless told to do so otherwise by your doctor.
Because this combination product has fixed doses of lamivudine and zidovudine, it should only be used if your doctor has determined that the doses of both medications in this product are right for you. This product is not to be used in children weighing less than 30 kilograms (66 pounds).
It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses. Do not increase your dose, take this drug more often than prescribed, or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.
Before taking this medication, inform your doctor if you are allergic to either lamivudine or zidovudine; or if you have any other allergies in general.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis), disease of the pancreas (pancreatitis), alcohol use, low red/white blood cell counts.
Loss of body fat (such as in the face, arms, legs, and buttocks) may occur while you are taking this medication. This effect may be permanent. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in body fat.
Headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, dizziness, or stuffy nose may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.
As your immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including: unexplained weight loss, severe tiredness, muscle aches/weakness that doesn't go away, headaches that are severe or don't go away, joint pain, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs, vision changes, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores), signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking).
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as depression), signs of pancreatitis (such as nausea, vomiting, stomach/abdominal/back pain, fever), easy bruising/bleeding, skin/nail color changes.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
What happens if I suddenly stop taking this medication?
There may be a relapse in symptoms as well as side effects. You should speak your doctor before stop taking this medication.
What is the best dosage to take?
The diagnosis with your doctor will be able to determine the best dosage for your treatment. Work with your doctor closely for dosage and dosing schedules.
What happens if I miss a dose?
You should take the missed dose as soon you realize you have forgotten. If the forgotten dose is closer to your next scheduled dose, take the next schedule dose to avoid overlapping in dose.
What is the best way to store this medication?
This medication is stored at room temperature, and should be kept away from children and pets. Do not throw away this medication in the wastebasket. If you are uncertain how to dispose of this medication speak with your pharmacist for help in safely disposing of this medication.
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