Compare Epivir vs. Ziagen

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.

Ziagen (abacavir) is a first-choice medication that is used with others to treat HIV. It's important that your doctor test you for allergic reactions to Ziagen (abacavir) before starting the medication.

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.
  • Ziagen (abacavir) is found in many other combination tablets.
  • Ziagen (abacavir) has few drug interactions.
  • People whose kidneys are not working as well can still take Ziagen (abacavir) without having to change its dose.
  • Kids 3 months and older can use Ziagen (abacavir).
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.
  • Ziagen (abacavir) can increase your risk of heart attack.
  • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.
  • Severe allergic reactions have happened in some patients taking Ziagen (abacavir). Your doctor will test you for any possible risk of reaction before starting Ziagen (abacavir).
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Price
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Reviews
Not enough review data.Leave a review
Not enough review data.Leave a review
Side effects
3possible side effects
  • Ear, nose, and throat infections
    25%
  • Diarrhea
    14%
  • Sore throat
    13%
See more detailed side effects
21possible side effects
  • Nausea
    19%
  • Headache
    13%
  • Fatigue and discomfort
    12%
  • Dreams/sleep disorders
    10%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    10%
  • Severe allergic reactions
    9%
  • Fever and/or chills
    9%
  • Headaches/migraine
    7%
  • Diarrhea
    7%
  • Skin rashes
    7%
  • Rashes
    6%
  • Stomach pain
    6%
  • Depression
    6%
  • Dizziness
    6%
  • Muscle and joint pain
    6%
  • Ear/nose/throat infections
    5%
  • Viral respiratory infections
    5%
  • Anxiety
    5%
  • Bronchitis
    4%
  • Pneumonia
    4%
  • Vomiting
    2%
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
  • Severe allergic reactions
    • Positive genetic test (HLA B5701)
  • Lactic acidosis & severe liver damage
    • Obesity
    • Women
    • History of liver problems
  • Immune system reactivation
  • Fat redistribution
  • Heart attack
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
See more detailed risks and warnings