Lamivudine and Zidovudine (Oral)

Overview

Lamivudine and zidovudine is a combination drug used in the treatment of HIV. The HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome, otherwise known as AIDS.

Lamivudine and zidovudine will not prevent or cure HIV infection or the symptoms associated with AIDS. It can, however, help prevent HIV from reproducing and it appears to slow down the deterioration of the immune system. This can help delay the development of serious health problems usually related to HIV or AIDS infection. Lamivudine and zidovudine can't stop you from spreading HIV to other people. Those who receive this medication could continue to have other problems usually related to HIV infection or AIDS.

You cannot obtain this medication on your own. It is only available via a prescription from your doctor. It is available in the dosage form of tablet for oral consumption.

Conditions treated

  • Prevention of HIV Infection after Exposure

Type of medication

  • Oral tablet

Side effects

Alongside treating HIV infection, this drug can produce some unwanted side effects. Not all may be present, but if these side effects do occur, you may need to seek medical assistance.

You should seek advice from a healthcare professional or doctor right away if you suffer from any of the following side effects whilst taking Lamivudine and Zidovudine:

More common

  • Fever

Less common

  • Numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the leg,s hands, arms or feet

Incidence not known

  • Feeling of fullness

Some side effects that can occur don't typically require medical attention due to their low severity. If you are, however, finding that these side effects are bothersome, you can seek advice from your doctor on ways to reduce these side effects. You should seek advice from your healthcare professional if the following side effects listed below become persistent or cause you bother.

More common

  • A headache

Less common

  • Coughing

Incidence not known

  • Painful, swollen or tender lymph glands in the armpit, neck, or groin

You may suffer from other side effects that are not listed above. Contact your doctor if you are worried about anything. You can report all side effects to the FDA if you wish to on 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosage

The final dose of this medication will depend upon individual factors. Your doctor will take into account your weight, height and age, your previous medical history and any other medications you are taking. They will also consider the strength of the medication, how long you are due to be on the medication and your reaction to the first dose. You should not change your dose without consulting with your healthcare team first. If you take too much of this medication you could increase your risk of side effects and if you take too little you could decrease the treatment.

For oral dosage form (tablets) to treat HIV infection:

  • Adults, teenagers, and children who weigh over 30 kilograms: 300 mg of zidovudine and 150 milligrams of lamivudine (one tablet) twice daily.
  • Adults and teenagers who weigh less than 30 kilograms: The dose and use will be determined by a doctor.
  • Children who weigh under 30 kilograms: The use of this drug combination is not recommended.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Lamivudine and Zidovudine combination, you should take it as soon as you remember. The exception to this is if it's close to your next dose. You should then skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule for doses. Don't double your doses to make up for missing a dose.

Proper Use

Don't stop taking this drug combination without speaking with a healthcare professional beforehand.

  • You need to keep taking zidovudine and lamivudine drug combination for the full duration of treatment, regardless if you start to feel better.
  • This medication will work best when there is a consistent amount in the blood. To ensure there is a consistent amount, you should avoid missing doses. You can plan the best times to take this drug with your doctor.
  • Only take this medication if your doctor has prescribed it specifically for you. Don't share your medication with others.
  • This drug combination contains a fixed amount of each medicine.
  • This drug combination can be taken with or without food.

Interactions

Interactions between drugs can cause severe side effects or even reduce the effectiveness of your treatment. This drug can interact with a number of other drugs. To therefore help limit the risk of these interactions, it's important to give your healthcare team a list of any other medications you are taking to treat any other medical conditions you are suffering from. Your list needs to include all prescription and nonprescription drugs, all vitamin supplements and herbal products. In most cases your doctor will avoid treating you with this drug when possible. However, in some circumstances, it may still be the best treatment plan for you.

The use of this medication is not usually recommended with the following medicines. However, in some cases, it may be required. If you are given both medications at the same time, your doctor may change the dose or frequency of either medication you are taking.

  • Dapsone

The use of this medication alongside any of the following medicines may increase your risk of certain side effects. However, it still may be the best treatment plan for you. If you are given both medications at the same time, your physician may alter the dose or frequency in which you use these medications.

  • Nelfinavir

This drug combination can interact with over 322 drugs. Let your doctor know if you are taking any of the following medications.

  • Nabumetone

Other medical conditions

The presence of other medical conditions could interact with this drug or affect how it works. It's important you make your doctor aware of any other health conditions you may suffer from including:

  • Hepatitis B infection

Warnings

Allergies

You should let your doctor know if you have ever suffered from an allergic or unusual reaction to this medication or any other medications. You should also make them aware of any other allergies you may suffer from, including to animals, drugs, dyes, and preservatives.

Use in pediatric population

Lamivudine and zidovudine combination contains a prefixed amount of each medication that can't be reduced. Therefore, this medication is not recommended for patients who weigh less than 30 kilograms due to the fact the amounts of zidovudine and lamivudine in this product can't be adjusted for smaller body sizes. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Use in geriatric population

Appropriate studies conducted to date have not indicated a geriatric-specific problem that could limit the usefulness of this drug in the elderly. However, older patients are more likely to have age-related heart, kidney or liver problems which could require an adjustment in the dose for those who are receiving this drug combination.

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding

This drug is under FDA pregnancy category C. It's unknown whether this drug combination can harm an unborn child. Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant. Remember that HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not treated properly during pregnancy. You should ensure you take all of your HIV medications as directed to help control the infection.

If you are currently pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This will track the outcome of the pregnancy and help evaluate any effects of this drug combination on the child.

Women with AIDS or HIV shouldn't breastfeed an infant. Regardless of whether your baby is born without HIV, the virus could still be passed to the baby via breastfeeding.

It's extremely important that your doctor monitors you and your child's progress at regular appointments to ensure that this drug combination is working correctly. Your doctor may perform blood and urine tests to check for unwanted side effects.

Don't take any other medications without checking with a healthcare professional first. If you do, you could increase the chance of side effects from this drug combination.

If you or your child have both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV infections, liver disease can become worse when treatment is stopped with this drug combination. You should discuss any changes in your medications or treatment with your doctor.

Zidovudine can cause some serious side effects, including bone marrow or blood problems. Symptoms of a bone marrow problem include chills, fever, sore throat, pale skin, or unusual weakness or tiredness. These problems could require a blood transfusion or temporarily stopping treatment with this drug. You should check with your doctor if any new symptoms or health problems occur whilst you or your child are taking this drug combination.

HIV can be acquired from or spread to other people through infected body fluids, including vaginal fluid, blood, or semen. If you are infected with HIV, it's best to avoid any sexual activity that involves an exchange of body fluids with other people. If you do have sex, ensure you wear or your partner wear a condom ('Å“rubber'). You should only use condoms made of latex, and use them each time you engage in oral, anal or vaginal sex.

The use of a spermicide can also help prevent transmission of HIV if it is not irritating to the rectum, vagina or mouth. Spermicides have been shown to kill HIV in lab tests. Don't use cold cream, oil-based jelly, baby oil, or shortening as a lubricant as these could break the condom. You can use lubricants without oil, such as K-Y Jelly. Women may wish to carry their own condoms. Diaphragms and birth control pills will assist in protecting against pregnancy, but they won't prevent someone from giving or receiving the AIDS virus. If you inject drugs, seek assistance to stop. Don't share equipment or needles with anyone. In some cities, over half of drug users are infected, and if you share even one syringe or needle you can spread the virus. Contact your doctor if you have any further questions about this.

There are two rare but serious reactions to this medication. These are liver toxicity, which includes an enlarged liver and lactic acidosis (which is too much acid in the blood). These are more common if you are very overweight (obese), female or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for long periods of time. You should seek emergency help if you suffer from any of the following symptoms.

  • Trouble breathing

You should inform your healthcare professional if you or your child suffer from muscle tenderness, severe pain or weakness, especially if you've been taking this drug for a long period of time.

When you or your child begin taking HIV medications, your immune system may get stronger. If you have infections that are hidden in your body (e.g. tuberculosis or pneumonia), you may notice different symptoms and signs when your body attempts to fight them. Tell your doctor immediately if this occurs.

This medication can cause you to have excess body fat. You should inform your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in your shape, such as an increased amount of body fat in the upper neck, face or chest and stomach area. You may also lose fat from your face, legs, or arms.

You should not breastfeed if you have AIDS or HIV as to do so increases the risk of your baby obtaining the infection via breast milk.

Storage

This drug combination needs to be stored in a closed container and kept out of moisture, heat and direct light. You should prevent this drug from freezing. Keep this medication out of the reach of children. Dispose of any medication that is no longer needed or has passed its expiry date. Your local pharmacist can give you detailed advice on the best disposal method for any medication you no longer require.

Summary

When used as directed, this drug combination is successful in the treatment of HIV. There are many possible interactions with this medication, so it's important your doctor is aware of all medications and medical conditions you currently suffer from. This drug cannot be used in those who weigh under 30 kilograms (66 pounds).

Your doctor should monitor you closely as you are on this medication. You should not change your dose without asking your doctor first and do not stop taking this medication without the advice of a healthcare professional. You should let your doctor know if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant whilst using this combination of drugs. You cannot under any circumstances use this drug whilst breastfeeding as it increases the child's chances of obtaining the infections.

This drug works best if there is a constant stream of it in the blood, you should, therefore, remember to take it regularly and avoid skipping any doses. Do not share this medication with anyone else. If you require any further information about the practical uses of this medication, or you have any other questions, you should contact your local healthcare professional or doctor for further information and advice.