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General information

The combination of lamivudine, stavudine and nevirapine is an anti-retroviral. Anti-retrovirals are drugs that suppress the activity or replication of retroviruses such as HIV. This specific anti-viral is classified as a combination of different reverse transcriptase inhibitors, meaning that it blocks an enzyme which is essential for the retrovirus to multiply.

In South Africa this combination is registered for the treatment and post-exposure prevention of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

How does this medication work?

When HIV infects a human T-cell, a type of white blood cell that plays a key role in the functioning of the immune system, viral genetic information in the form of RNA needs to be converted to DNA for the virus to have any effect. It makes use of an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to achieve this conversion. This combination targets and inhibits this enzyme, thus preventing the spread of HIV.

How should this medicine be used?

The combination of lamivudine and zidovudine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day with or without food. Take lamivudine and zidovudine at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take this medication exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Mechanism of Action of Stavudine

Stavudine is a Thymidine nucleoside analogue. It undergoes phosphorylation in the presence of Kinase enzyme and form Stavudine triphosphate. This Stavudine triphosphate competitively inhibit HIV reverse transcriptase enzyme which is responsible for the conversion of viral RNA to pro viral DNA and is then added to host cell chromosome. Stavudine triphosphate terminates elongation of pro viral DNA and results in inhibition of viral replication.

Side Effects of Stavudine

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anorexia
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Neutropenia
  • Lactic acidosis

Storage Requirements for Nevirapine

Store at 15 - 30 degree C in a tightly closed container. Protect away from heat and light. Keep out of the reach of children.