Why is this medication prescribed?
The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Lamivudine and zidovudine are in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). They work by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although the combination of lamivudine and zidovudine does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other life-style changes may decrease the risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to other people.
How should this medicine be used?
The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day with or without food. To help you remember to take this medication, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take this medication exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Lamivudine and zidovudine controls HIV infection but does not cure it. Continue to take lamivudine and zidovudine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking lamivudine and zidovudine without talking to your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Lamivudine and zidovudine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- excessive tiredness
- stuffy nose
- hair loss
Some side effects can be serious. The following side effects are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, or any of those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- numbness, tingling, or burning in your fingers or toes
Lamivudine and zidovudine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking lamivudine and zidovudine.
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program.