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Lamivudine (By mouth)

Lamivudine (la-MIV-ue-deen)

Treats hepatitis B infection and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine does not cure hepatitis B, HIV, or AIDS, but it may help slow the disease progress.

Brand Name(s):

Epivir, Epivir A/F, Epivir HBV

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to lamivudine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Tablet, Liquid

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Epivir® and Epivir-HBV® both contain the same medicine, but Epivir® has more medicine in each tablet or dose of liquid. Use only the brand of this medicine that your doctor prescribed. If you have HIV or AIDS, you need to use Epivir®. If you have hepatitis B but you do not have HIV or AIDS, you can use Epivir-HBV®.
  • Your doctor may want to test you for HIV before you start using this medicine and during your treatment. Your medicine may need to be changed based on these test results.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Epivir® is used with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed as part of your combination treatment for HIV or AIDS.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine at room temperature in a tightly closed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using any other medicines for HIV or AIDS, especially Combivir®, Trizivir®, or Hivid® (zalcitabine). Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using a sulfa drug, such as trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, TMP/SMX, Bactrim®, Cotrim®, or Septra®.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you have kidney disease or pancreas problems.
  • This medicine may cause a problem with your pancreas called "pancreatitis." The pancreas is an organ in your body that helps with digestion. Children are more likely to have pancreatitis while using this medicine. The main symptom of pancreatitis is sudden and severe stomach pain. This stomach pain may spread to your back or sides. Other symptoms are nausea, vomiting, fever, and light-headedness. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
  • This medicine may cause problems with your liver. Make sure your doctor knows if you have any liver problems besides hepatitis B. Some signs of liver problems are pain in your upper stomach, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dark-colored urine, pale-colored stools, or your skin or eyes turning yellow. Call your doctor if you have these signs. Do not stop using this medicine without asking your doctor.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV or hepatitis B to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV or hepatitis B. Do not share needles with anyone.
  • Do not breastfeed. You can spread HIV or AIDS to your baby through your breast milk.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Extreme weakness, tiredness, or confusion.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in your hands or feet.
  • Rapid breathing, trouble breathing, or nausea and vomiting.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mood changes, depression, or trouble sleeping.
  • Puffy face or increased fat in your neck, upper back, breast, or around your waist.
  • Sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, cough.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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