Compare Epivir vs. Zerit

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.

Within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class, stavudine can be a difficult drug to take. stavudine has numerous serious side effects and probably won't be your first choice.

  • 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.
  • stavudine is provided as both capsules and an oral solution.
  • Take with or without food.
  • Can be used by patients on dialysis.
  • While stavudine doesn’t cure HIV, it does reduce the number of viral copies being made in your blood, giving your healthy immune cells (CD4 cells) a better chance to do their job.
  • 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.
  • Must take twice a day, every 12 hours.
  • The amount of stavudine you will take is based on your body weight, kidney, and liver function.
  • Interacts with many different medications.
  • May cause serious side effects in your liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
  • Can cause significant tingling in your hands or feet.
Used for
  • HIV infection
  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV prevention, non-occupational (PEP)
  • HIV prevention, mother-to-child
  • HIV infection
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
No pricing information available
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Side effects
3possible side effects
  • Ear, nose, and throat infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
See more detailed side effects
The Zerit (Stavudine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
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
  • Lactic acidosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver damage
    • Use of hydroxyurea, didanosine, and stavudine together
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV therapy
  • Fat Redistribution
    • HIV treatment
See more detailed risks and warnings