Why is this medication prescribed?
Lamivudine (Epivir) is used in combination with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Lamivudine is not a cure and may not decrease the number of HIV-related illnesses. Lamivudine does not prevent the spread of HIV to other people. Lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) is used to treat hepatitis B infection. Lamivudine is in a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. It works by stopping the spread of the HIV and hepatitis B viruses.
How should this medicine be used?
Lamivudine comes as a tablet and liquid to take by mouth. Lamivudine (Epivir) is usually taken every 12 hours (twice a day). Lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) is usually taken once a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take lamivudine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Continue to take lamivudine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking lamivudine without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Lamivudine also is used in combination with zidovudine (Retrovir, AZT) to treat health-care workers or other individuals exposed to HIV infection after accidental contact with HIV-contaminated blood, tissues, or other body fluids. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking lamivudine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to lamivudine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had hepatitis B, kidney disease, or pancreas disease (in children only).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking lamivudine, call your doctor. You should not breast-feed while taking lamivudine.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Side effects from lamivudine are common. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- trouble sleeping
- stuffy nose
If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- stomach pain
- vomiting (in children)
- upset stomach (in children)
- muscle pain
- numbness, tingling, or burning in the fingers or toes
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). The liquid does not need to be refrigerated; however, it should be stored in a cool place. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.