Combivir or generic Lamivudine/Zidovudine consists of two antiretroviral drugs prescribed to treat the human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV. Combivir will not kill any existing virus, nor is it a cure for HIV infected individuals, but it can help you manage your symptoms and help decrease your viral load so that you able to carry on with your daily activities. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Lamivudine and Zidovudine are both classed as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) or “nukes”. They work by blocking the action of reverse transcriptase; an enzyme the virus needs in order to grow and form new viruses. This action results in a decrease in the amount of the virus in your body which allows your body to increase your CD4 cell count. CD4 cells (T-cells) are a type of white blood cells that your body needs to protect you from infections.
It is the white blood cells that signal your immune response that there is a threat. As the HIV destroys these T-cells, your body becomes less capable of fighting off infections as the amount of HIV in your body increases. This is why it is so important to see your doctor for a diagnosis if you are at risk for HIV and to begin treatment. If HIV is allowed to go untreated, it can result in acquired immune deficiency syndrome, called AIDS.
A retrovirus is one that needs to take over and infect a cell in order to insert their RNA into the DNA of the cell so they can mature and repeat the process. This is how HIV takes over your cells and decreases your ability to fight off HIV and other infections, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.
HIV drugs are usually given as a combination of 2-4 medications to fight the virus at different stages of its life cycle. And, as a precaution, in case the virus becomes resistant to one of the drugs, there is back-up with the other drugs. Combivir or generic Lamivudine/Zidovudine will not protect you or your partner from spreading HIV so you must be vigilant about taking safety measures to prevent infecting others.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding to be aware of any harm that could occur to your unborn or nursing baby from taking Combivir. Make your doctor aware of any health conditions you may have that could interfere with your ability to safely take Combivir and provide a list of other Rx medicine you currently take or use, as well as over-the-counter meds and herbal or vitamin supplements.
The active ingredients in Combivir can cause some serious side effects so your doctor may test your blood often to keep a watchful eye for anything of concern. Taking certain medications with Combivir without consulting with your doctor could cause a negative interaction or change the efficacy of Combivir.