What are the most important things to know about lamivudine?
Lamivudine can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include a buildup ofin the blood ( ) and problems.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of lactic acidosis:
- Weakness or tiredness
- Unusual muscle pain
- Shortness of breath or fast breathing
- Stomach pain with nausea and vomiting
- Cold or blue hands and feet
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fast or abnormal heartbeat
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of liver problems:
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes ( )
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored bowel movements
- Loss of appetite for several days or longer
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach/abdominal area
If you have both HIV and(HBV) and take lamivudine, the hepatitis B virus can change (mutate) during your treatment with lamivudine and become harder to treat (resistant). Also, your HBV may get much worse (flare up) if you stop taking lamivudine. Do not stop taking lamivudine without first talking to your health care provider.
Epivir-HBV is a different type of lamivudine product used to treat chronic HBV infection. You should not take Epivir-HBV if you have or may have HIV infection. Epivir-HBV does not contain enough lamivudine to effectively treat HIV infection. If you have both HIV and HBV, you should not use Epivir-HBV to treat your infections.
While taking lamivudine, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
What is lamivudine?
Lamivudine (brand name: Epivir) is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S.(FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children. Lamivudine is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.
For more information on the use of lamivudine in people with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV and the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection.
Lamivudine may also be used as part of an Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs During Pregnancy and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States.(ART) to prevent mother-to-child ( ) of HIV. When used to prevent mother-to-child transmission, lamivudine may be given to infants after birth. For more information, please refer to the
HIV medicines cannot cure HIV/AIDS, but taking HIV medicines every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. If you are taking HIV medicines, including lamivudine, do not cut down on, skip, or stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to.
Lamivudine is also effective against Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Exposed and HIV-Infected Children.(HBV) and may be included as part of an (ART) to treat both HIV and HBV infection in people with HIV/HBV . In addition to lamivudine, the ART regimen should include another drug that is active against both HIV and HBV. For more information on the HBV-related use of lamivudine, please refer to the HBV section of the
Epivir-HBV is a different type of lamivudine product approved by FDA for the treatment of chronic HBV infection. You should not take Epivir-HBV if you have or may have HIV infection.
What should I tell my health care provider before taking lamivudine?
Before taking lamivudine, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to lamivudine or any other medicines.
- If you have or have had liver problems, including hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) or (HCV).
- If you have kidney problems.
- If you have . Each 15-mL (150 mg) of lamivudine oral solution contains 3 grams of sucrose (common table sugar).
- If you have any other medical conditions.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of taking lamivudine during pregnancy. For more information on the use of lamivudine during pregnancy, please refer to the Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs During Pregnancy and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States.
- If you are breast/chestfeeding or plan to breast/chestfeed. For people with HIV in the United States, the Guideline recommends speaking with your health care provider to discuss options for feeding your baby. People with suppressed viral load have a less than 1% chance of transmitting HIV to their baby via their own milk.
- If you are using HIV and Birth Control infographic. -based birth control (such as pills, implants, or vaginal rings). For more information about using birth control and HIV medicines at the same time, view the HIVinfo
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Lamivudine may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how lamivudine works. Taking lamivudine together with certain medicines or products may cause serious side effects.
How should I take lamivudine?
Lamivudine comes in the following forms and strengths:
- 150-mg and 300-mg tablets
- 10-mg/mL oral solution
Take lamivudine according to your health care provider’s instructions. Do not miss a dose of lamivudine, and do not change your dose or stop taking lamivudine without first talking with your health care provider.
For children, their health care provider will prescribe a dose of lamivudine based on their body weight.
Take lamivudine by mouth, with or without food. Tell your health care provider if you or your child has trouble swallowing tablets. Lamivudine also comes as a liquid oral solution.
Always take lamivudine in combination with other HIV medicines.
If you have taken too much lamivudine, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
For more information on how to take lamivudine, see the FDA drug label.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you miss a dose of lamivudine, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can lamivudine cause?
Lamivudine may cause side effects. Some side effects of lamivudine can be serious as noted above. Many side effects from HIV medicines, such as nausea or occasional dizziness, are manageable. See the HIVinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects for more information.
Other possible side effects of lamivudine include:
- Inflammation of the ( ) in some children. Contact your health care provider right away if your child develops signs and symptoms of pancreatitis, including severe pain in the upper stomach/abdominal area, with or without nausea and vomiting.
- Changes in your (called or IRIS). IRIS is a condition that sometimes occurs when the immune system begins to recover after treatment with an HIV medicine. As the immune system gets stronger, it may have an increased response to a previously hidden infection.
Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of lamivudine. To learn more about possible side effects of lamivudine, read the drug label or or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.You can report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online.
How should lamivudine be stored?
- Store lamivudine tablets and oral solution at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
- Keep lamivudine oral solution in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
- Do not use lamivudine if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
- Throw away lamivudine that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
- Keep lamivudine and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about lamivudine?
- For more information on the use of lamivudine in people with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV and the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection.
- Recommendations on the use of lamivudine in people with HIV and HBV, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Exposed and HIV-Infected Children.
- This Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Solution, tablet (film coated). The Patient Package Insert includes information for people taking lamivudine.
- The American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS) Patient Medication Information for lamivudine available from MedlinePlus.
- Lamivudine-related research studies, from ClinicalTrials.gov. (The ClinicalTrials.gov search can be modified so that you can get results that better match your interests. To learn more about the ClinicalTrials.gov search features, please see How to Search.)
- A list of FDA-approved HIV medicines, from HIVinfo.
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Last Reviewed: June 15, 2022