Compare Retrovir vs. Combivir

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

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Works with other drugs to treat HIV infection or prevents transmission to your baby.

Retrovir (zidovudine) is not the first choice to treat HIV because of its side effects.

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.

Upsides
  • Retrovir (zidovudine) is safe and effective for children and infants.
  • Retrovir (zidovudine) is available in several single-pill combination tablets so you don't need to take as many pills.
  • 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.
Downsides
  • Retrovir (zidovudine) can cause serious blood, muscle, and liver problems.
  • Many people experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and headache when taking Retrovir (zidovudine).
  • Taking Retrovir (zidovudine) can raise your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • 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.
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Used for
  • HIV infection
  • Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission
  • HIV Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP)
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
12possible side effects
  • Fever
    25%
  • Cough
    15%
  • Skin rashes
    12%
  • Enlarged liver
    11%
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
    9%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    8%
  • Diarrhea
    8%
  • Nasal discharge or congestion
    8%
  • Wheezing
    7%
  • Pain in the ear
    7%
  • Swelling of the mouth
    6%
  • Enlarged spleen
    5%
See more detailed 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
Risks and risk factors
  • Blood and bone marrow problems
    • Advanced HIV
    • Anemia
    • Neutropenia
  • Muscle and kidney damage
    • Extended use of Retrovir (zidovudine)
  • Acid build-up in the blood
    • Liver disease
    • Women
    • Obesity
  • Fat redistribution
    • HIV treatment
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV therapy
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • 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