Compare Epivir vs. Viread

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

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection or chronic hepatitis B.

Epivir (lamivudine) is a first-choice and commonly used medicine to take together with other HIV medications to treat HIV. It is also an alternative option for treating chronic hepatitis B.

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Also treats Hepatitis B Virus.

Viread (tenofovir) is a first-line choice to be used in combination with other medications to treat HIV. Viread (tenofovir) is also a first-line choice in treating HBV.

Upsides
  • Epivir (lamivudine) can be used with many other HIV options to create a combination that's right for you.
  • Has very minimal interactions with other medications.
  • Available in tablet and liquid form.
  • Can be take once or twice a day. Also available in different combination pills so you don't have to take as many pills per day.
  • Available in cheaper generic form.
  • Can be used with other medications to prevent HIV infection after an exposure.
  • Taken only once daily, with or without food.
  • There are newer formulations of Viread (tenofovir) available that are safer on your kidneys.
  • If tablets are hard for you to swallow, Viread (tenofovir) is available in a powder that's mixed with soft foods.
Downsides
  • Cannot take Epivir (lamivudine) by itself to treat HIV.
  • Might need to change dosage based on how well your kidneys function.
  • It is recommended to use other options to treat chronic hepatitis B before choosing Epivir (lamivudine) due to drug resistance.
  • You'll have to be tested for both HIV and hepatitis B, since the dose to treat hepatitis B is lower than the dose for HIV. If you have the lower dose, HIV can be harder to treat if you also have hepatitis B.
  • The liquid version of Epivir (lamivudine) has sugar, so if you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels might change.
  • Viread (tenofovir) can't be used on its own to treat HIV infection.
  • Not recommended for patients with kidney damage.
  • Can weaken your bones.
  • Might worsen hepatitis B infections if you suddenly stop taking it.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Powder
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
3possible side effects
  • Ear, nose, and throat infections
    25%
  • Diarrhea
    14%
  • Sore throat
    13%
See more detailed side effects
1possible side effects
  • Nausea
    9%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Lactic acidosis | Enlarged, fatty liver
    • Liver disease
    • Women
    • Obesity
  • Acute Exacerbation of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
    • Hepatitis B virus
  • Different doses available
  • HIV counseling/testing
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV therapy
  • Pancreatitis
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Lactic acidosis | Enlarged, fatty liver
    • Liver disease
    • Women
    • Obesity
  • Cannot be used to treat Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
    • Hepatitis B Virus infection
  • Mood and behavior changes
    • History of mental illness
  • Decreased bone mineral density
    • History of bone fractures
    • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney damage
    • History of kidney damage
    • Concurrent use of other drugs known to harm kidneys
  • Hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions
    • Prior severe allergic reaction to Viread (tenofovir) or any of its individual drug components.
See more detailed risks and warnings