Compare Epivir vs. Descovy

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

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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.

Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is a first choice combination tablet that is used with other medications to treat HIV and is safe for your kidneys and bones.

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.
  • Compared to Truvada (a similar drug formulation), Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is safe for your kidneys and bones.
  • Take only once daily, with or without food.
  • Children 12 years or older can take Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide).
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.
  • Might worsen hepatitis B infections if you suddenly stop taking Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide).
  • Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is only approved to treat HIV, not to stop you from getting it.
  • Since Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is not a generic, it may be expensive.
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Used for
  • HIV infection
  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV prevention, non-occupational (PEP)
  • HIV prevention, mother-to-child
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
Lowest price
$1825.63
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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
    10%
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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
  • Sudden worsening of Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
    • Hepatitis B virus
  • Lactic acidosis and enlarged, fatty liver
    • Liver disease
    • Obesity
  • Kidney damage
    • History of kidney damage
    • Using other drugs known to harm kidneys
  • Weakened bones
    • History of bone fractures
    • Osteoporosis
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV medication
See more detailed risks and warnings