lamivudine and zidovudine, Combivir (cont.)
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
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.)
The effectiveness of either lamivudine or zidovudine when used alone may decrease as the HIV virus develops resistance to the effects of the individual drugs. By combining lamivudine and zidovudine, it is more difficult for the HIV virus to develop resistance to therapy since it must develop resistance to both drugs. As a result, Combivir is more effective than lamivudine or zidovudine alone. Combivir does not kill existing HIV virus, and it is not a cure for HIV. Combivir was approved by the FDA in September 1997.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Combivir is used, in combination with other agents, for the treatment of HIV infection.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most serious side effects of Combivir are:
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2015
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