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While not everyone will have problems with Combivir, side effects can occur. Commonly reported ones include nausea and vomiting, headaches, fatigue, and diarrhea. These side effects are generally mild and easily treated. Some 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.

An Introduction to Combivir Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Combivir® (lamivudine/zidovudine); 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 Combivir. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Combivir

The exact formulation of Combivir (the two different medications in the same tablet) has not been studied in clinical trials. However, the combination of zidovudine and lamivudine in two separate tablets or capsules has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In these studies, the most common side effects of the zidovudine/lamivudine combination included:
  • Headaches -- in up to 35 percent of people
  • Nausea -- up to 33 percent
  • A general ill feeling (malaise) and fatigue -- up to 27 percent
  • Nasal symptoms -- up to 20 percent
  • Diarrhea -- up to 18 percent
  • Cough -- up to 18 percent
  • Nausea and vomiting -- up to 13 percent
  • Muscle or bone pain -- up to 12 percent
  • Nerve problems, including unusual sensations (such as burning or tingling) -- up to 12 percent
  • Insomnia -- up to 11 percent (see Combivir and Insomnia).
Other common side effects (occurring in 5 to 10 percent of people) included:
  • Fever or chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Dizziness
  • Joint pain.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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