ANTI HIV PRODUCTS

Duovir general information

What is Duovir used for?

Duovir tablets are a combination treatment for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection in patients with or without acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. HIV impairs the immune system by attacking specific immune cells called CD4 cells that are involved in fighting infection and this can lead to opportunistic life-threatening infection (infections that would not normally be harmful). Duovir tablets help prevent or slow down the ability of HIV to replicate, which keeps the amount virus down to a low level and this results in an increase in CD4 cell numbers, so that the immune system can recover reducing the risk of disease progression. 

How does Duovir work?

Duovir tablets contain a combination of two antiretroviral drugs lamivudine and zidovudine, which both belong to class of drugs known as nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) that are only effective against retroviruses (RNA virus) like HIV. A nucleoside is a building block of DNA that is needed by the virus to replicate, and nucleoside analogues, like lamivudine and zidovudine in Duovir tablets, become incorporated into the DNA that is copied from the virus RNA by an enzyme called reverse transcriptase. This blocks the action of reverse transcriptase and terminates the viral DNA chain so that it cannot become integrated into the DNA of the infected immune cell, which means that no more HIV can be produced. Lamivudine is highly synergistic with zidovudine, which means that it increases the effectiveness of zidovudine so that the combination of these two antiretroviral drugs in Duovir tablets slow down the replication of HIV within your body but cannot prevent the spread of the infection to others. 

What does Duovir contain?

Duovir tablets contain a combination the active ingredients lamivudine (150mg) and zidovudine (300mg), which are antiretroviral drugs that are used to treat HIV infection. 

Treating HIV infection with Duovir

Duovir tablets contain a combination of two antiretroviral drugs lamivudine and zidovudine which are used to treat HIV infection in patients with or without acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. HIV impairs the immune system by attacking specific immune cells called CD4 cells that are involved in fighting infection and this can lead to opportunistic life-threatening infection (infections that would not normally be harmful). Lamivudine and zidovudine in Duovir tablets are inhibitors of the enzyme reverse transcriptase which is needed by retroviruses (RNA viruses) like HIV to become incorporated into the DNA of infected immune cells so that they can replicate. Duovir tablets help prevent or slow down the ability of HIV to replicate, which keeps the amount virus down to a low level and this results in an increase in CD4 cell numbers, so that the immune system can recover, reducing the risk of disease progression. 

What are the side effects of Duovir?

The most commonly reported side effects when taking Duovir include: headache, gastrointestinal upset, particularly nausea, also diarrhoea, constipation, stomach pain; dizziness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, rash, hair loss, muscle and joints aches and pains. A more serious but less common side effect is damage to the liver and a condition called lactic acidosis, which may cause pancreatitis, liver failure, or renal failure.

When should Duovir not be used?

You should not use Duovir if you:

  • are allergic to lamivudine or zidovudine or any ingredients in Duovir tablets
  • are pregnant or are breastfeeding, without discussion with your doctor
  • have abnormally low neutrophil counts (<0.75 x 109/l), or abnormally low haemoglobin levels (<7.5 g/dl or 4.65 mmol/l)
  • have had any blood disorders such as anaemia or bone marrow problems
  • have kidney or liver disease


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