You should not use this medicine if you or your child have had an allergic reaction to lamivudine (Epivir®) or zidovudine (Retrovir®). Do not use this medicine if you or your child have severe kidney disease or liver disease. Children weighing less than 30 kilograms (66 pounds) should not use this medicine.
Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
You may take this medicine with or without food.
Combivir® is used with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed as part of your combination treatment for HIV or AIDS.
If a dose is missed:
If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Do not take any other medicine containing lamivudine or zidovudine (such as Atripla®, Emtriva®, Epivir®, Epzicom®, Retrovir, Trizivir®, or Truvada®). Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using a sulfa drug (such as sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, TMP/SMX, Bactrim®, or Septra®).
Tell your doctor if you are using doxorubicin (Adriamycin®), ganciclovir (Cytovene®), interferon-alfa (Intron®-A, Roferon®-A), ribavirin (Virazole®), stavudine (Zerit®), or zalcitabine (Hivid®). Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medicines that weaken your immune system, such as a steroid or cancer treatment.
Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you or your child have kidney disease or liver disease. Tell your doctor if you have a weakened immune system, hepatitis B virus infection, pancreas problems, anemia, or a low white blood cell count.
Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity, which includes an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms: stomach discomfort or cramping; dark urine; decreased appetite; diarrhea; general feeling of discomfort; light-colored stools; muscle cramping or pain; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; trouble breathing; vomiting; or yellow eyes or skin.
When you or your child start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you have infections that are hidden in your body such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, tell your doctor right away.
This medicine may cause you or your child to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor right away if you notice changes in your body shape, including an increased amount of body fat in the neck or upper back, face, around the chest, or stomach area. You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, or face.
You should not breast feed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you may give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. If you also have hepatitis, this may need to continue for several months after you stop using this medicine.
This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.