Compare Epivir vs. Retrovir

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

Epivir
(Lamivudine)

Retrovir
(Zidovudine, Azt, Or Zdv)

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.Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Also prevents mother-to-child sharing of HIV. AZT can be a good second-line choice to take within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class. AZT can have a number of serious side effects, but if you don't have prior blood, kidney, or liver problems, you should consider it.
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Reviews & ratings
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Side effects
EpivirRetrovir

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

FDA side effect reports for Epivir »

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

FDA side effect reports for Retrovir »
How it works
EpivirRetrovir
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.AZT 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
EpivirRetrovir
Coming soon.
Coming soon.
Available as
EpivirRetrovir
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
EpivirRetrovir
  • HIV infection
  • HIV infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
EpivirRetrovir
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
        • HIV
        • Exposure to other infections
        • Start of a new HIV medication
        • Change in HIV therapy
        • HIV treatment
        Detailed Epivir (Lamivudine) risks & warnings »
        • Advanced HIV
        • Anemia
        • Neutropenia
        • Longtime use of AZT
        • Women
        • Obesity
        • Liver disease
        • HIV
        • Exposure to other infections
        • Start of a new HIV medication
        • Change in HIV therapy
        • HIV treatment
        Detailed Retrovir (Zidovudine, Azt, Or Zdv) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        EpivirRetrovir
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        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.

        See the FDA package insert
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        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.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
        Food
        No specific food-related info.
        • Take AZT with or without food.
        Kidneys and liver
        • The dose of lamivudine needs to be lowered if you have kidney problems.
        • 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.
        • Poor kidney function will affect how much AZT you can take.
        • Combining certain medications can increase the risk of muscle pain (myopathy), muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis), and kidney damage. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist when taking any new medications.
        • AZT 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 AZT. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
        Weight
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        EpivirRetrovir
        • 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.
        • AZT is provided as capsules, tablets, and syrup.
        • Used in kids and babies.
        • Take AZT with or without food.
        • AZT is included in the combination drugs Trizivir (AZT, Epivir, and Ziagen) and Combivir (AZT and Epivir), both of which are taken twice a day.
        Downsides and risks
        EpivirRetrovir
        • 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.
        • AZT may cause serious blood, muscle, and liver problems.
        • Poor kidney function will affect how much AZT you can take.
        • Allergies to AZT are rare, but very serious.
        • Need to get regular blood tests.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        EpivirRetrovir
        • 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.
        • Don't take AZT with stavudine, another HIV drug.
        • Work with your doctor to get regular blood tests. The goal is to make sure the drug is working well and safely.
        • Keep an eye out for any new symptoms or side effects you may start to feel while taking AZT and report them to your doctor.
        • Read the Medication Guide given to you at the pharmacy about AZT since it contains helpful information.
        Learn more
        More about EpivirSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about RetrovirSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert