Included as part of the "PRECAUTIONS" Section
Hematologic Toxicity/Bone Marrow Suppression
Zidovudine, a component of COMBIVIR, has been associated with hematologic toxicity including neutropenia and anemia, particularly in patients with advanced HIV-1 disease. COMBIVIR should be used with caution in patients who have bone marrow compromise evidenced by granulocyte count less than 1,000 cells per mm3 or hemoglobin less than 9.5 grams per dL [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Frequent blood counts are strongly recommended in patients with advanced HIV-1 disease who are treated with COMBIVIR. Periodic blood counts are recommended for other HIV-1-infected patients. If anemia or neutropenia develops, dosage interruption may be needed.
Myopathy and myositis, with pathological changes similar to that produced by HIV-1 disease, have been associated with prolonged use of zidovudine, and therefore may occur with therapy with COMBIVIR.
Lactic Acidosis And Severe Hepatomegaly With Steatosis
Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogues, including lamivudine and zidovudine (components of COMBIVIR). A majority of these cases have been in women. Female sex and obesity may be risk factors for the development of lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis in patients treated with antiretroviral nucleoside analogues. See full prescribing information for EPIVIR (lamivudine) and RETROVIR (zidovudine). Treatment with COMBIVIR should be suspended in any patient who develops clinical or laboratory findings suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity, which may include hepatomegaly and steatosis even in the absence of marked transaminase elevations.
Patients With Hepatitis B Virus Co-Infection
Posttreatment Exacerbations Of Hepatitis
Clinical and laboratory evidence of exacerbations of hepatitis have occurred after discontinuation of lamivudine. See full prescribing information for EPIVIR (lamivudine). Patients should be closely monitored with both clinical and laboratory follow-up for at least several months after stopping treatment.
Emergence Of Lamivudine-Resistant HBV
Safety and efficacy of lamivudine have not been established for treatment of chronic hepatitis B in subjects dually infected with HIV-1 and HBV. Emergence of hepatitis B virus variants associated with resistance to lamivudine has been reported in HIV–1-infected subjects who have received lamivudine-containing antiretroviral regimens in the presence of concurrent infection with hepatitis B virus. See full prescribing information for EPIVIR (lamivudine).
Use With Interferon- And Ribavirin-Based Regimens
Patients receiving interferon alfa with or without ribavirin and COMBIVIR should be closely monitored for treatment-associated toxicities, especially hepatic decompensation, neutropenia, and anemia. See full prescribing information for EPIVIR (lamivudine) and RETROVIR (zidovudine). Discontinuation of COMBIVIR should be considered as medically appropriate. Dose reduction or discontinuation of interferon alfa, ribavirin, or both should also be considered
if worsening clinical toxicities are observed, including hepatic decompensation (e.g., Child-Pugh greater than 6) (see full prescribing information for interferon and ribavirin).
Exacerbation of anemia has been reported in HIV-1/HCV co-infected patients receiving ribavirin and zidovudine. Coadministration of ribavirin and COMBIVIR is not advised.
COMBIVIR should be used with caution in patients with a history of pancreatitis or other significant risk factors for the development of pancreatitis. Treatment with COMBIVIR should be stopped immediately if clinical signs, symptoms, or laboratory abnormalities suggestive of pancreatitis occur [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Immune Reconstitution Syndrome
Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including COMBIVIR. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune systems respond may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections (such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia [PCP], or tuberculosis), which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.
Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves’ disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution; however, the time to onset is more variable, and can occur many months after initiation of treatment.
Treatment with zidovudine, a component of COMBIVIR, has been associated with loss of subcutaneous fat. The incidence and severity of lipoatrophy are related to cumulative exposure. This fat loss, which is most evident in the face, limbs, and buttocks, may be only partially reversible and improvement may take months to years after switching to a non-zidovudine-containing regimen. Patients should be regularly assessed for signs of lipoatrophy during therapy with zidovudine-containing products, and if feasible, therapy should be switched to an alternative regimen if there is suspicion of lipoatrophy.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Long-term carcinogenicity studies with lamivudine in mice and rats showed no evidence of carcinogenic potential at exposures up to 10 times (mice) and 58 times (rats) the human exposures at the recommended dose of 300 mg.
Zidovudine was administered orally at 3 dosage levels to separate groups of mice and rats (60 females and 60 males in each group). Initial single daily doses were 30, 60, and 120 mg per kg per day in mice and 80, 220, and 600 mg per kg per day in rats. The doses in mice were reduced to 20, 30, and 40 mg per kg per day after Day 90 because of treatment-related anemia, whereas in rats only the high dose was reduced to 450 mg per kg per day on Day 91 and then to 300 mg per kg per day on Day 279.
In mice, 7 late-appearing (after 19 months) vaginal neoplasms (5 non-metastasizing squamous cell carcinomas, 1 squamous cell papilloma, and 1 squamous polyp) occurred in animals given the highest dose. One late-appearing squamous cell papilloma occurred in the vagina of a middle-dose animal. No vaginal tumors were found at the lowest dose.
In rats, 2 late-appearing (after 20 months), non-metastasizing vaginal squamous cell carcinomas occurred in animals given the highest dose. No vaginal tumors occurred at the low or middle dose in rats. No other drug-related tumors were observed in either sex of either species.
At doses that produced tumors in mice and rats, the estimated drug exposure (as measured by AUC) was approximately 3 times (mouse) and 24 times (rat) the estimated human exposure at the recommended therapeutic dose of 100 mg every 4 hours.
It is not known how predictive the results of rodent carcinogenicity studies may be for humans.
Lamivudine was mutagenic in an L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay and clastogenic in a cytogenetic assay using cultured human lymphocytes. Lamivudine was not mutagenic in a microbial mutagenicity assay, in an in vitro cell transformation assay, in a rat micronucleus test, in a rat bone marrow cytogenetic assay, and in an assay for unscheduled DNA synthesis in rat liver.
Zidovudine was mutagenic in an L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay, positive in an in vitro cell transformation assay, clastogenic in a cytogenetic assay using cultured human lymphocytes, and positive in mouse and rat micronucleus tests after repeated doses. It was negative in a cytogenetic study in rats given a single dose.
Impairment Of Fertility
Lamivudine did not affect male or female fertility in rats at doses up to 4,000 mg per kg per day, associated with concentrations approximately 42 times (male) or 63 times (female) higher than the concentrations (Cmax) in humans at the dose of 300 mg.
Zidovudine, administered to male and female rats at doses up to 450 mg per kg per day, which is 7 times the recommended adult dose (300 mg twice daily) based on body surface area, had no effect on fertility based on conception rates.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Exposure Registry
There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to COMBIVIR during pregnancy. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register patients by calling the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry (APR) at 1-800-258-4263.
Available data from the APR show no difference in the overall risk of birth defects for lamivudine or zidovudine compared with the background rate for birth defects of 2.7% in the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP) reference population (see Data). The APR uses the MACDP as the U.S. reference population for birth defects in the general population. The MACDP evaluates women and infants from a limited geographic area and does not include outcomes for births that occurred at less than 20 weeks’ gestation. The rate of miscarriage is not reported in the APR. The estimated background rate of miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies in the U.S. general population is 15% to 20%. The background risk for major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown.
In animal reproduction studies, oral administration of lamivudine to pregnant rabbits during organogenesis resulted in embryolethality at systemic exposure (AUC) similar to the recommended clinical dose; however, no adverse development effects were observed with oral administration of lamivudine to pregnant rats during organogenesis at plasma concentrations (Cmax) 35 times the recommended clinical dose. Administration of oral zidovudine to female rats
prior to mating and throughout gestation resulted in embryotoxicity at doses that produced systemic exposure (AUC) approximately 33 times higher than exposure at the recommended clinical dose. However, no embryotoxicity was observed after oral administration of zidovudine to pregnant rats during organogenesis at doses that produced systemic exposure (AUC) approximately 117 times higher than exposures at the recommended clinical dose. Administration of oral zidovudine to pregnant rabbits during organogenesis resulted in embryotoxicity at doses that produced systemic exposure (AUC) approximately 108 times higher than exposure at the recommended clinical dose. However, no embryotoxicity was observed at doses that produced systemic exposure (AUC) approximately 23 times higher than exposures at the recommended clinical dose (see Data).
Lamivudine: Based on prospective reports to the APR of over 11,000 exposures to lamivudine during pregnancy resulting in live births (including over 4,500 exposed in the first trimester), there was no difference between the overall risk of birth defects for lamivudine compared with the background birth defect rate of 2.7% in a U.S. reference population of the MACDP. The prevalence of birth defects in live births was 3.1% (95% CI: 2.6% to 3.6%) following first trimester exposure to lamivudine-containing regimens and 2.8% (95% CI: 2.5% to 3.3%) following second/third trimester exposure to lamivudine-containing regimens.
Lamivudine pharmacokinetics were studied in pregnant women during 2 clinical trials conducted in South Africa. The trial assessed pharmacokinetics in 16 women at 36 weeks’ gestation using 150 mg lamivudine twice daily with zidovudine, 10 women at 38 weeks’ gestation using 150 mg lamivudine twice daily with zidovudine, and 10 women at 38 weeks’ gestation using lamivudine 300 mg twice daily without other antiretrovirals. These trials were not designed or powered to provide efficacy information. Lamivudine concentrations were generally similar in maternal, neonatal, and umbilical cord serum samples. In a subset of subjects, amniotic fluid specimens were collected following natural rupture of membranes and confirmed that lamivudine crosses the placenta in humans. Based on limited data at delivery, median (range) amniotic fluid concentrations of lamivudine were 3.9 (1.2 to 12.8)–fold greater compared with paired maternal serum concentration (n = 8).
Zidovudine: Based on prospective reports to the APR of over 13,000 exposures to zidovudine during pregnancy resulting in live births (including over 4,000 exposed in the first trimester), there was no difference between the overall risk of birth defects for zidovudine compared with the background birth defect rate of 2.7% in a U.S. reference population of the MACDP. The prevalence of birth defects in live births was 3.2% (95% CI: 2.7% to 3.8%) following first trimester exposure to zidovudine-containing regimens and 2.8% (95% CI: 2.5% to 3.2%) following second/third trimester exposure to zidovudine-containing regimens.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in HIV–1-infected pregnant women to determine the utility of zidovudine for the prevention of maternal-fetal HIV-1
transmission. Zidovudine treatment during pregnancy reduced the rate of maternal-fetal HIV-1 transmission from 24.9% for infants born to placebo-treated mothers to 7.8% for infants born to mothers treated with zidovudine. There were no differences in pregnancy-related adverse events between the treatment groups. Of the 363 neonates that were evaluated, congenital abnormalities occurred with similar frequency between neonates born to mothers who received zidovudine and neonates born to mothers who received placebo. The observed abnormalities included problems in embryogenesis (prior to 14 weeks) or were recognized on ultrasound before or immediately after initiation of trial drug [see Clinical Studies].
Zidovudine has been shown to cross the placenta and concentrations in neonatal plasma at birth were essentially equal to those in maternal plasma at delivery [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Lamivudine: Lamivudine was administered orally to pregnant rats (at 90, 600, and 4,000 mg per kg per day) and rabbits (at 90, 300, and 1,000 mg per kg per day and at 15, 40, and 90 mg per kg per day) during organogenesis (on gestation Days 7 through 16 [rat] and 8 through 20 [rabbit]). No evidence of fetal malformations due to lamivudine was observed in rats and rabbits at doses producing plasma concentrations (Cmax) approximately 35 times higher than human exposure at the recommended daily dose. Evidence of early embryolethality was seen in the rabbit at system exposures (AUC) similar to those observed in humans, but there was no indication of this effect in the rat at plasma concentrations (Cmax) 35 times higher than human exposure at the recommended daily dose. Studies in pregnant rats showed that lamivudine is transferred to the fetus through the placenta. In the fertility/pre-and postnatal development study in rats, lamivudine was administered orally at doses of 180, 900, and 4,000 mg per kg per day (from prior to mating through postnatal Day 20). In the study, development of the offspring, including fertility and reproductive performance, was not affected by maternal administration of lamivudine.
Zidovudine: A study in pregnant rats (at 50, 150, or 450 mg per kg per day starting 26 days prior to mating through gestation to postnatal Day 21) showed increased fetal resorptions at doses that produced systemic exposures (AUC) approximately 33 times higher than exposure at the recommended daily human dose (300 mg twice daily). However, in an oral embryo-fetal development study in rats (at 125, 250, or 500 mg per kg per day on gestation Days 6 through 15), no fetal resorptions were observed at doses that produced systemic exposure (AUC) approximately 117 times higher than exposures at the recommended daily human dose. An oral embryo-fetal development study in rabbits (at 75, 150, or 500 mg per kg per day on gestation Days 6 through 18) showed increased fetal resorptions at the 500 mg-per-kg-per-day dose, which produced systemic exposures (AUC) approximately 108 times higher than exposure at the recommended daily human dose; however, no fetal resorptions were noted at doses up to 150 mg per kg per day, which produced systemic exposure (AUC) approximately 23 times higher than exposures at the recommended daily human dose. These oral embryo-fetal development studies in the rat and rabbit revealed no evidence of fetal malformations with zidovudine. In another
developmental toxicity study, pregnant rats (dosed at 3,000 mg per kg per day from Days 6 through 15 of gestation) showed marked maternal toxicity and an increased incidence of fetal malformations at exposures greater than 300 times the recommended daily human dose based on AUC. However, there were no signs of fetal malformations at doses up to 600 mg per kg per day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that HIV-1-infected mothers in the United States not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1 infection. Lamivudine and zidovudine are present in human milk. There is no information on the effects of lamivudine or zidovudine on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drugs on milk production. Because of the potential for (1) HIV-1 transmission (in HIV-negative infants), (2) developing viral resistance (in HIV-positive infants), and (3) adverse reactions in a breastfed infant, instruct mothers not to breastfeed if they are receiving COMBIVIR.
COMBIVIR is not recommended for use in pediatric patients who weigh less than 30 kg because it is a fixed-dose combination tablet that cannot be adjusted for this patient population [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Clinical trials of COMBIVIR did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, caution should be exercised in the administration of COMBIVIR in elderly patients reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Patients With Impaired Renal Function
COMBIVIR is not recommended for patients with creatinine clearance less than 50 mL per min because COMBIVIR is a fixed-dose combination and the dosage of the individual components cannot be adjusted. If a dose reduction of the lamivudine or zidovudine components of COMBIVIR is required for patients with renal impairment then the individual components should be used [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Patients With Impaired Hepatic Function
COMBIVIR is a fixed-dose combination and the dosage of the individual components cannot be adjusted. Zidovudine is primarily eliminated by hepatic metabolism and zidovudine concentrations are increased in patients with impaired hepatic function, which may increase the risk of hematologic toxicity. Frequent monitoring of hematologic toxicities is advised.