Combivir is a combination medication used in the treatment of HIV infection or AIDS. By combining two different HIV medications -- lamivudine and zidovudine -- the drug is more effective than when just one of these drugs is used alone. It works by preventing the HIV virus from multiplying. Possible side effects of Combivir include headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
What Is Combivir?Combivir® (lamivudine/zidovudine) is a prescription medication used to treat HIV infection or AIDS. It is approved for use in combination with other HIV medications as a treatment for HIV. Combivir contains two different medications: lamivudine (Epivir®, 3TC) and zidovudine (Retrovir®, AZT, ZDV).
How Does It Work?As mentioned, Combivir contains two different HIV medications: lamivudine and zidovudine. Both of these belong to a group of HIV medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). These medicines work by blocking a process that the HIV virus needs in order to multiply.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. Like other viruses, HIV must use a person's own cells to reproduce. However, HIV is a little different from other viruses because it must first convert its genetic material from RNA to DNA. It is the DNA genes that allow HIV to multiply. The virus converts its genetic material by using a special protein called the reverse transcriptase enzyme. To create DNA, this enzyme uses several different molecular building blocks.
Combivir works by tricking reverse transcriptase into thinking it is one of these molecular building blocks. However, it is just different enough that when used to create DNA, Combivir actually stops the DNA from being made. Without DNA, HIV cannot multiply.
Combivir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. It can help stop HIV from infecting healthy cells in the body, but it does not help cells that have already been infected with the virus.