Compare Epivir vs. Ziagen

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

Epivir
(lamivudine)

Ziagen
(abacavir)

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. If you don't have an allergic reaction to the drug and have good liver function, then this drug is a decent option within within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class.
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Coupons for Epivir
Best available price for 30 (150mg) tablets of lamivudine
Coupons for Ziagen
Best available price for 60 (300mg) tablets of abacavir
Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Epivir (lamivudine)
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of people (All ages) say Epivir (lamivudine) is worth it
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say it works well
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say it's a big hassle
Have you used Epivir (lamivudine)?
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Reviews for Ziagen (abacavir)
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Same vs. Epivir (lamivudine)
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Same vs. Epivir (lamivudine)
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Same vs. Epivir (lamivudine)
Have you used Ziagen (abacavir)?
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Side effects
EpivirZiagen

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

FDA side effect reports for Epivir »

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

FDA side effect reports for Ziagen »
How it works
EpivirZiagen
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.abacavir 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
EpivirZiagen
Prescription only
Available as
EpivirZiagen
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
EpivirZiagen
  • HIV Infection
  • HIV Infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
EpivirZiagen
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • HIV
  • Exposure to other infections
Detailed Epivir (lamivudine) risks & warnings »
  • Prior severe allergic reaction to abacavir
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • HIV
Detailed Ziagen (abacavir) 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.

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.

Kidneys and liver
EpivirZiagen
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.
  • abacavir 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 abacavir. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
Upsides and benefits
EpivirZiagen
  • 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 take one tablet twice a day, or two tablets once a day.
  • abacavir is in a number of other combination meds, so you may be able to find a single drug that has abacavir and other HIV medicines you are taking in a single product.
  • Can be used for kids 3 months and older.
Downsides and risks
EpivirZiagen
  • 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.
  • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.
  • Severe allergic reactions to abacavir are possible. Genetic testing may help identify if you are likely to react poorly to abacavir.
  • Once someone has an allergic reaction to abacavir, they can't take any other medications containing abacavir in the future.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
EpivirZiagen
  • 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.
  • To best deal with stomach upset and other side effects, either take abacavir twice a day for lower effects throughout the day, or once a day at night to sleep through the bulk of effects.
  • Work with your healthcare provider to get regular blood tests. The goal is to make sure the drug is working well and safely.
  • If being used for kids, the dose of abacavir will continue to change as they grow, so keep in touch with their doctor.
Learn more
More about EpivirSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Epivir (lamivudine)?
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More about ZiagenSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ziagen (abacavir)?
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