What is Duovir Medication Used For? Side Effects and Dosage
What is Duovir?
Duovir, also referred to as Combivir, is a medication that is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus responsible for the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the human body. Duovir is a combination medication; each tablet contains 150mg of lamivudine and 300mg of zidovudine, both of which are antiretroviral medications, meaning they prevent the enzymatic process by which the virus reproduces. Initially introduced in 1997, it has since become among the standard treatments for HIV and is now listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an essential medicine.
What is It Used For?
Duovir is used in the treatment of individuals diagnosed with HIV. Specifically, it is used in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV-1, or type 1, the most common and more infectious type of the virus, accounting for approximately 95% of global HIV infections. The active ingredients in Duovir are used to successfully prevent the virus from progressing to later stages. Upon metabolization in the body, both lamivudine and zidovudine work in conjunction with each other to attach themselves onto the ends of viral DNA strands, thereby terminating the DNA chain’s growth and preventing the virus from replicating itself further in the patient. Both medications have also been shown to have a greater affinity for viral polymerases (enzymes that build DNA) compared to those of the host patient, which contributes to Duovir’s efficacy.
How to This Medication
Duovir is available in the form of small, film-coated tablets that are ingested orally by swallowing the tablet whole. It is sold in either 60 tablet or 100 tablet bottles. In children who have been assessed to have difficulty swallowing tablets, a liquid formulation of each of the two active ingredients is available, to be taken orally. The liquid formulation is also available for patients with hepatic (liver) impairment and patients with lower-than-normal creatine clearance. The bodily absorption of Duovir’s active ingredients has not been observed to have been impaired by being taken with food. As such, the medication can be taken with or without meals.
Duovir Side Effects
Like many other HIV medications, Duovir may cause side effects. These range from mild, easily treatable symptoms such as headaches and dizziness, to more serious symptoms that require urgent medical attention.
The following side effects have been observed more frequently:
- Runny nose
The following side effects occur less frequently but may require immediate medical attention:
- Allergic reaction
- Liver disorders
- Lactic acidosis
- Chest pains
- Muscle weakness
- Changes in color of nails or skin
- Flu like feeling
- Skin tingling
- Frequent urination
Pregnant and breastfeeding patients should avoid the use of Duovir unless an assessment has been made to evaluate the risks involved with treatment. Furthermore, Duovir has been observed to interact with various other medications, which can increase the likelihood of adverse effects. Patients should consult their health care provider about any other medications they are taking prior to using Duovir.