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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Hepsera

Generic Name: adefovir (Pronunciation: a DEF o veer)

What is adefovir (Hepsera)?

Adefovir is an antiviral medication. It works by preventing viral cells from multiplying in the body and infecting new liver cells.

Adefovir is used to treat chronic hepatitis B in adults. This medicine will not cure hepatitis.

Adefovir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Hepsera 10 mg

round, white, imprinted with GILEAD 10, LOGO

What are the possible side effects of adefovir (Hepsera)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

This medication may cause lactic acidosis (a build-up of lactic acid in the body, which can be fatal). Lactic acidosis can start slowly and get worse over time. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms of lactic acidosis, such as:

  • muscle pain or weakness;
  • numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs;
  • trouble breathing;
  • feeling dizzy, light-headed, tired, or very weak;
  • stomach pain, nausea with vomiting; or
  • fast or uneven heart rate.

Call your doctor at once if you have any other serious side effect such as:

  • urinating less than usual or not at all; or
  • nausea, pain in your upper stomach, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, or stomach pain;
  • mild skin rash or itching;
  • weakness; or
  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about adefovir (Hepsera)?

Some people develop lactic acidosis while taking adefovir. Early symptoms may get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.

Adefovir can also cause serious kidney problems, especially if you have kidney disease or take certain medications.

You may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using adefovir. Visit your doctor regularly.

Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing hepatitis B to other people. Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent hepatitis transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Tell your doctor if you have been exposed to HIV, or if you have untreated HIV or AIDS. Taking medicines to treat chronic hepatitis B can cause HIV infection to become resistant to the standard HIV and AIDS medications. You may need to be tested for HIV before you start taking adefovir.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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