Compare Combivir vs. Descovy

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Treats HIV infection

While Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine) isn't one of the first choices for treating HIV, it can still be an option if other HIV medications aren't working well for you.

Works with other medicines to treat HIV.

Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is a first choice combination tablet that is used with other medications to treat HIV and is safe for your kidneys and bones.

Upsides
  • Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine) can be taken with or without food.
  • Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine) can be taken by children and adolescents weighing 30kg (66lbs) or more.
  • Available in generic.
  • Compared to Truvada (a similar drug formulation), Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is safe for your kidneys and bones.
  • Take only once daily, with or without food.
  • Children 12 years or older can take Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide).
Downsides
  • Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine) needs to be taken twice daily.
  • Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine) may cause serious blood, muscle, and liver problems.
  • Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine) is not recommended if you have kidney damage.
  • Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine) can cause a lot of side effects, including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, and malaise.
  • Might worsen hepatitis B infections if you suddenly stop taking Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide).
  • Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is only approved to treat HIV, not to stop you from getting it.
  • Since Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is not a generic, it may be expensive.
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Dosage forms
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Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
20possible side effects
  • Headache
    35%
  • Nausea
    33%
  • Malaise and fatigue
    27%
  • Nose-related problems
    20%
  • Diarrhea
    18%
  • Cough
    18%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    13%
  • Nerve problems
    12%
  • Bone pain
    12%
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
    11%
  • Fever or chills
    10%
  • Loss or decrease in appetite
    10%
  • Dizziness
    10%
  • Abdominal pain
    9%
  • Depression
    9%
  • Skin rashes
    9%
  • Muscle pain
    8%
  • Abdominal cramps
    6%
  • Indigestion
    5%
  • Joint pain
    5%
See more detailed side effects
1possible side effects
  • Nausea
    10%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Blood and bone marrow problems
    • Advanced HIV
    • Anemia
    • Neutropenia
  • Muscle damage
    • Taking Combivir (lamivudine / zidovudine) for a long time
  • Worsening of hepatitis B
    • Hepatitis B virus
  • Lactic acidosis | Enlarged, fatty liver
    • Liver disease
    • Women
    • Obesity
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV therapy
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
    • History of pancreatitis
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Sudden worsening of Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
    • Hepatitis B virus
  • Lactic acidosis and enlarged, fatty liver
    • Liver disease
    • Obesity
  • Kidney damage
    • History of kidney damage
    • Using other drugs known to harm kidneys
  • Weakened bones
    • History of bone fractures
    • Osteoporosis
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV medication
See more detailed risks and warnings