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Side Effects of Lamivudine/Zidovudine

Commonly reported side effects of lamivudine/zidovudine include nausea and vomiting, headaches, fatigue, and diarrhea. These side effects are generally mild and easily treated. In fact, most people have no problems with the drug. Some lamivudine/zidovudine side effects, however, are potentially serious and may require medical attention, such as signs of an allergic reaction, signs of lactic acidosis, and frequent infections.

Side Effects of Lamivudine/Zidovudine: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with lamivudine/zidovudine (Combivir®); however, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. When side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with lamivudine/zidovudine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of lamivudine/zidovudine side effects with you.)

Serious Side Effects of Lamivudine/Zidovudine

Some side effects with lamivudine/zidovudine, while occurring infrequently, are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Anemia
  • Frequent infections, which may be a sign of low neutrophil levels in the blood (known medically as neutropenia)
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising, which may be a sign of low blood platelets (known as thrombocytopenia)
  • Symptoms of lactic acidosis (too much lactic acid in the blood), such as:
    • Feeling tired or weak
    • Muscle pain
    • Trouble breathing
    • Stomach pain
    • Feeling cold
    • Cold or blue hands and feet
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • A slow or irregular heartbeat
    • Persistent nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • An enlarged or tender liver
    • Weight loss
  • Signs of liver problems, such as:
    • Yellow eyes or skin (jaundice)
    • Dark urine
    • Liver enlargement or pain
  • Changes in the distribution of fat on your body (such as a "buffalo hump")
  • Depression (see Combivir and Depression)
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • Unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Information on Lamivudine/Zidovudine

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