Combivir is a type of medication that battles HIV viruses. It contains lamivudine and zidovudine, both of which are reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Combivir prevents the HIV virus from reproducing. While it isn’t a cure for AIDS or HIV, it is a form of treatment.
Should I take it?
Never take Combivir if you have allergies to it or any other medication containing lamivudine, zidovudine or emtricitabine. These include drugs like Retrovir, Truvada and Epivir.
Remember that zidovudine can cause symptoms of infection, such as fever and sores. Test your blood often. Using zidovudine for extended periods leads to muscle weakness.
Lactic acidosis is a rare development that may occur while taking Combivir. This can be fatal if untreated. Symptoms in the early stage include muscle pain, weakness, numbness in arms and legs, ragged breathing, nausea, uneven pulse, dizziness and lethargy.
The liver is also vulnerable to Combivir. If you experience upper abdominal pain, itchiness, no appetite, dark, muddy urine and yellowish skin, call your doctor and get a liver check-up. Stop using the medication. Do not take Combivir if you have had Hepatitis B.
Tell your doctor if you have a history of kidney disease, pancreatic disorder or if you take Ribavarin for Hep C. Pregnant women should take note that Combivir’s effect on unborn children is unknown. However, HIV can be inherited if you aren’t treated during pregnancy. Tell your doctor to figure out what to do about dosing and medication.
How should I take Combivir?
Combivir must only be taken according to your prescription. Do not take it any more or less than has been prescribed to you by your doctor. Since it is going to be used with other drugs, make sure that you take them all in the exact amount.
Combivir has the ability to lower your red and white blood cell count. This reduces your ability to treat infections on your own and increases how long you bleed when getting a wound. Get your blood tested often to be sure.
The normal adult dosage is one tablet twice daily when HIV has been confirmed. For exposure, the CDC recommended dosage is a tablet every 12 hours for 28 days. If exposed, begin prophylaxis within 72 hours. For a child over 30kg in weight, the dosage is one tablet twice daily. Below 30kg, consult your doctor before giving them any tablets.
Do not take extra tablets to make up for a missed dose. If you miss one, take the tablet as soon as possible. If it is close to your next dose time, just take the next one without the one you missed. If you take too many, call your local poison hotline immediately.
Emergency help is required if you show any symptoms of allergies, such as hives, troubled breathing or swollen lips, tongue and throat.
Other side effects that require immediate help are:
Symptoms of low white blood cells – fever, swollen gums, sores in the mouth, difficulty breathing and swallowing, bad cough and flu symptoms.
Symptoms of low red blood cells – pale skin, light-headedness, rapid pulse, easily distracted.
Symptoms of a bad liver – nausea, pain in the upper abdomen, itchiness, exhaustion, dark urine and yellowish skin.
Symptoms of new infections – fevers, sweating, sores, diarrhea, weight loss
Chest pains, wheezing and ragged breathing
Genital or anal sores
Anxiety, irritability, balance issues
Severe back pain, loss of bowel and bladder control
Impotence or asexuality
More common side effects of taking the drug include:
Stuffy nose, sneezing and a cough
Movement of body fat
If you exhibit any of these symptoms, make sure you call your doctor immediately.