GENERIC NAME: lamivudine and zidovudine
BRAND NAME: Combivir
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Combivir is an oral drug that is a combination of lamivudine (Epivir) and zidovudine (Retrovir). It is used for the treatment of infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Lamivudine and zidovudine are in a class of drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors that also includes zalcitabine (Hivid), emtricitabine (Emtrivir,) and didanosine (Videx).
During infection with HIV, the HIV virus multiplies within the body's cells. The newly-formed viruses are released from the cells and then spread throughout the body where they infect other cells. In this manner, the infection continually spreads to new, uninfected cells that the body is continually producing, and HIV infection is perpetuated. When producing new viruses, the HIV virus must manufacture new DNA for each virus. Reverse transcriptase is the enzyme that the virus uses to form this new DNA. Lamivudine and zidovudine block the activity of reverse transcriptase and block the production of DNA and new viruses. (Specifically, lamivudine is converted within the body to its active form, lamivudine triphosphate, and zidovudine is converted to its active form, zidovudine triphosphate. The active forms are similar to the naturally occurring deoxycytidine triphosphate and thymidine triphosphate, respectively, chemicals that are used by reverse transcriptase to make DNA. The reverse transcriptase uses lamivudine triphosphate and zidovudine triphosphate instead of the naturally-occurring deoxycytidine triphosphate and thymidine triphosphate for making DNA, and these active forms of the drugs interfere with the activity of reverse transcriptase.)
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