Lamivudine is utilized in conjunction with other medications for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults and children aged three months and above. While lamivudine does not provide a cure for HIV, it has the potential to reduce the likelihood of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related conditions, such as severe infections or cancer. This medication belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), which function by reducing the presence of HIV and hepatitis B in the bloodstream.
Uses and Dosage
Administer this medication orally, with or without food, typically once or twice daily, or as instructed by your physician.
The dosage of this medication is determined based on your medical condition and how your body responds to the treatment. In the case of children, the dosage is also determined by their weight.
Adhere strictly to the prescribed regimen of this medication (as well as other HIV medications) as directed by your doctor. Avoid skipping any doses, altering the dosage, increasing the frequency of intake beyond the prescribed guidelines, or discontinuing the medication (including other HIV medicines), even for a brief period, unless explicitly advised to do so by your doctor. Skipping doses or modifying the dosage without the approval of your doctor can lead to an increase in the viral load, rendering the infection more challenging to treat (resistant), or exacerbating side effects.
To achieve optimal effectiveness, take this medication at consistent intervals throughout the day. Establishing a routine by taking the medication at the same time(s) every day can assist in remembering the dosing schedule.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- difficulty falling sleeping or staying asleep
- stuffy nose
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- vomiting (in children)
- nausea (in children)
- ongoing pain that begins in the stomach area but may spread to the back (in children)
- numbness, tingling, or burning in the fingers or toes
- excessive tiredness; weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness; fast or irregular heartbeat; muscle pain; stomach pain with nausea and vomiting; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, or cough; or feeling cold, especially in the arms or legs
- light-colored bowel movements; yellowing of the skin or eyes; loss of appetite; unusual bleeding or bruising; dark yellow or brown urine; or pain in the upper right part of stomach
Prior to initiating lamivudine treatment, inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any known allergies you may have, including allergies to lamivudine itself or other substances. This product may contain inactive ingredients that can potentially trigger allergic reactions or other complications.
Before using this medication, disclose your medical history, particularly if you have a history of pancreatitis, kidney problems, liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C, or cirrhosis), or if you consume alcohol.
Refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages as they may heighten the risk of liver problems and/or pancreatitis.
This medication can induce dizziness. Alcohol or marijuana can intensify this dizziness. Refrain from driving, operating machinery, or engaging in activities that require alertness until you can safely do so.
Exercise caution when administering this drug to children, as they may be more susceptible to its effects, particularly the increased risk of pancreatitis.
If you are pregnant, notify your doctor before using this medication. Treatment can lower the risk of transmitting HIV infection to your baby. Discuss the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider.
Lamivudine passes into breast milk. As breast milk can transmit HIV, refrain from breastfeeding while taking this medication.
Form and Strength
Epivir is available in the following forms and strengths:
How effective is Epivir?
Epivir is very effective against HIV when taken every day with other HIV ARVs.
What should I do if I forget a dose of Epivir?
If you forget your dose of Epivir, take it as soon as you remember unless it’s almost time for your next dose. Never double up on doses.