Medications and Drugs
Brand Names: Epivir, Epivir HBV
Generic Name: lamivudine (Pronunciation: la MIV yoo deen)
What is lamivudine (Epivir, Epivir HBV)?
Lamivudine is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.
The Epivir brand of lamivudine is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Lamivudine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. The Epivir-HBV brand of lamivudine is used to treat chronic hepatitis B. Epivir-HBV should not be used in people who are infected with both hepatitis B and HIV.
Lamivudine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Epivir 150 mg
elliptical, white, imprinted with GX CJ7, 150
Epivir 300 mg
diamond, gray, imprinted with GX EJ7
Epivir-HBV 100 mg
oval, yellow, imprinted with GX CG5
What are the possible side effects of lamivudine (Epivir, Epivir HBV)?
Stop using lamivudine and 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.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:
Less serious side effects may include:
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 lamivudine (Epivir, Epivir HBV)?
Lamivudine should not be taken together with Combivir, a medication that contains a combination of lamivudine and zidovudine.
Lamivudine may cause lactic acidosis (the build up of lactic acid in the body). Symptoms can start slowly and gradually get worse: unusual muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing, fast or uneven heart rate, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and numbness or cold feeling in your arms or legs. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild.
Lamivudine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver or pancreas. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms while taking lamivudine: severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, fast heart rate, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Before taking lamivudine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, a history of pancreatitis, or if you have used a medicine similar to lamivudine in the past, such as abacavir (Ziagen), didanosine (Videx), stavudine (Zerit), tenofovir (Viread), zalcitabine (Hivid), or zidovudine (Retrovir).
If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking lamivudine, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function on a regular basis for several months after you stop using this medication. Do not miss any scheduled visits.
Epivir tablets and liquid contain a higher dose of lamivudine than Epivir-HBV. Epivir is for treating HIV and Epivir-HBV is for treating hepatitis B. Each time you get a refill of this medication, be sure you have received the correct brand to treat your condition.
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.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Resources for Staying Well
- HIV-AIDS: Myths and Facts
- Understanding The Symptoms of AIDS/HIV
- The Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions About HIV and AIDS