Compare Emtriva vs. Epivir

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Emtriva
(emtricitabine)

Epivir
(lamivudine)

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Emtriva (emtricitabine) is a first-line and commonly used drug that is taken in combination with other HIV medications to treat or prevent HIV.Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. lamivudine is currently one of the most popular drugs within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Emtriva (emtricitabine)?
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Have you used Epivir (lamivudine)?
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Side effects
EmtrivaEpivir
  • Diarrhea 23%
  • Nasal stuffiness/runniness (Rhinitis) 18%
  • Nausea 18%
  • Rash 17%
  • Physical weakness and/or lack of energy 16%
  • Increased cough 14%
  • Headache 13%
  • Vomiting 9%
  • Abdominal pain 8%
  • Insomnia 7%
More Emtriva side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Epivir side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Epivir »
How it works
EmtrivaEpivir
Emtriva (emtricitabine) is a Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). It treats HIV by stopping the virus from replicating within cells in your immune system.lamivudine stops the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) within important cells of the body by preventing the virus from taking over normal functions of the cell for its own purposes.
Type of medication
EmtrivaEpivir
Prescription only
Available as
EmtrivaEpivir
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
EmtrivaEpivir
  • HIV Infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
EmtrivaEpivir
  • Liver disease
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Hepatitis B Virus infection
  • HIV
Detailed Emtriva (emtricitabine) risks & warnings »
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • HIV
  • Exposure to other infections
Detailed Epivir (lamivudine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Food
EmtrivaEpivir
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) should be taken at the same time everyday, with or without food.
  • Taken with or without food once a day.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
EmtrivaEpivir
  • The dose of Emtriva (emtricitabine) should be adjusted if you have poor kidney health. Your doctor will provide lab tests to ensure you are taking the appropriate dose. Be sure to attend your scheduled doctor and lab appointments in order to make sure that Emtriva (emtricitabine) is working well and safely for you.
  • Patients with kidney damage will need to be closely monitored by their doctors in order to provide an appropriate dose.
  • lamivudine can cause this rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. Baseline blood work for kidney and liver function are helpful to see if you can use lamivudine. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
  • Severe worsening of Hepatitis B has been seen in patients who have stopped taking lamivudine. Liver function should be closely watched in people who have both HIV and HBV.
  • The dose of lamivudine needs to be lowered if you have kidney problems.
Upsides and benefits
EmtrivaEpivir
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) is a first-line drug option used in combination with other HIV medications to treat HIV.
  • Taken with or without food once a day.
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) is available in many combination tablets if you are looking to lower the number of pills you need to take daily for HIV treatment.
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) is available as a capsule as well as liquid form.
  • lamivudine is available as a tablet and oral solution.
  • Can be taken once or twice a day.
  • One of the more popular drugs in its class.
  • lamivudine is contained in the following combination products: Combivir, Epzicom, and Trizivir.
Downsides and risks
EmtrivaEpivir
  • Patients with kidney damage will need to be closely monitored by their doctors in order to provide an appropriate dose.
  • Cannot be used by itself to treat or prevent HIV infection.
  • lamivudine should not be used with any other drugs containing Emtriva (emtricitabine) since both are so similar to each other.
  • Use with caution in kids with a history of pancreatitis (pancreas infection).
  • Most common side effects are headache, nausea, tiredness, congestion, diarrhea, and cough.
  • The dose of lamivudine needs to be lowered if you have kidney problems.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
EmtrivaEpivir
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine) should be taken at the same time everyday, with or without food.
  • For missed doses, take one if you remember within 12 hours of your regularly scheduled time. Don't take extra medicine or double up if you've missed a previous dose.
  • Keep your regularly scheduled doctor's and lab appointments. These help ensure your medication is working well and safely.
  • Immediately report any signs of liver problems (jaundice, dark urine, yellowing of eyes, etc.) or sensitivity reactions (rash, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, etc.) to your prescriber.
  • The doses for lamivudine are different for HIV and Hepatitis B.
  • If being used for kids, the dose of lamivudine will continue to change as they grow, so keep in touch with their doctor.
  • Keep an eye out for any new symptoms or side effects you may start to feel while taking lamivudine and report them to your doctor.
Learn more
More about EmtrivaSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Emtriva (emtricitabine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about EpivirSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Epivir (lamivudine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it