Lower-cost generic availableClass: Infection

Epivir 

(lamivudine)

Lower-cost generic availableClass: Infection
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Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection.

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Our bottom line

lamivudine is currently one of the most popular drugs within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class.

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Upsides

  • 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.

Downsides

  • 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.
How it works

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.

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Side effect rates for Epivir (lamivudine)

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These are side effects of Epivir (lamivudine) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.
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Risks and Warnings for Epivir (lamivudine)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Women
    • Obesity
    • Liver disease

    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.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Common concerns from people taking Epivir (lamivudine)

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Pregnancy
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.
  • 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.