Compare Epivir vs. Viread

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

Epivir
(lamivudine)

Viread
(tenofovir)

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 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.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Epivir (lamivudine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Viread (tenofovir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
EpivirViread

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

FDA side effect reports for Epivir »
  • Rash 18%
  • Diarrhea 5%
  • Headache 14%
  • Pain 13%
  • Depression 11%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Weakness 10%
  • Back pain 9%
  • Abdominal pain 22%
  • Insomnia 18%
More Viread side effects »
How it works
EpivirViread
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.Viread (tenofovir) is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that prevents both HIV and hepatitis B virus from making copies of itself.
Type of medication
EpivirViread
Available as
EpivirViread
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Powder
Used for
EpivirViread
  • HIV Infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
EpivirViread
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • HIV
  • Exposure to other infections
Detailed Epivir (lamivudine) risks & warnings »
  • Liver disease
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Hepatitis B Virus infection
  • History of mental illness
Detailed Viread (tenofovir) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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
EpivirViread
No food related info.
  • Taken only once daily, with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
EpivirViread
  • 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.
  • Viread (tenofovir) is not yet approved for treating Hepatitis B. If you have hepatitis B and HIV, don't stop taking Viread (tenofovir) without talking to your doctor since your hepatitis can get worse. Your doctor will check your liver regularly.
  • People on Viread (tenofovir) have reported kidney damage, which can be made worse if you take high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs called NSAIDs (Motrin/Advil, Aleve, Mobic, Voltaren, etc.). Call your doctor if you develop bone pain, pain in your arms or legs, or pain and weakness in your muscles.
  • There are newer formulations of Viread (tenofovir) available that are safer on your kidneys.
  • Not recommended for patients with kidney damage.
Upsides and benefits
EpivirViread
  • 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.
  • 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 and risks
EpivirViread
  • 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.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
EpivirViread
  • 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.
  • Avoid taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Aleve in order to prevent damage to kidneys.
  • Patients should be tested for both HIV and Hepatitis B virus (HBV) before starting Viread (tenofovir).
  • Viread (tenofovir) powder should be mixed into soft food like applesauce or yogurt. Take it immediatly after mixing, otherwise the taste can turn bitter. Viread (tenofovir) powder cannot be mixed into liquids.
  • 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.
  • Keep your regularly scheduled doctor's and lab appointments. These help ensure your medication is working well and safely.
Learn more
More about EpivirSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Epivir (lamivudine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about VireadSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Viread (tenofovir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it