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All about: Lamivudine

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Generic Name: Lamivudine 100 mg Tablets (la-MIH-vyoo-deen)
Brand Name: Epivir-HBV

High levels of lactic acid in the blood and severe, life-threatening liver problems have been reported with the use of Lamivudine alone or with other medicines. HIV counseling and testing should be offered to all patients before treatment for hepatitis B virus is started with Lamivudine and periodically during treatment. Lamivudine has a lower dose of the same active ingredient (lamivudine) than in Epivir, a medicine used to treat HIV infection. These formulations are not interchangeable. If Lamivudine is prescribed for a patient with hepatitis B virus and undiagnosed or untreated HIV infection, the HIV infection will be less treatable with Lamivudine and other medicines. Worsening of hepatitis B virus infection has been reported in patients who stop taking Lamivudine . Patients should have their liver function monitored closely for at least several months after stopping use of Lamivudine .


Lamivudine is used for:

Treating certain types of chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

Lamivudine is a nucleoside analogue. It works by reducing the amount of hepatitis B virus in the body by blocking the ability of the virus to multiply and infect new liver cells.

Do NOT use Lamivudine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Lamivudine
  • you have HIV infection, abnormal liver function tests, severe liver problems, or lactic acidosis
  • you are taking zalcitabine or another medicine containing lamivudine

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Lamivudine :

Some medical conditions may interact with Lamivudine . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have muscle problems, swelling of the pancreas, abnormal blood counts, liver or kidney problems, diabetes, or a nerve disorder

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Lamivudine . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole because it may increase the risk of Lamivudine 's side effects
  • Zalcitabine because it may decrease Lamivudine 's effectiveness

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Lamivudine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Lamivudine :

Use Lamivudine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with Lamivudine . Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take Lamivudine by mouth with or without food.
  • Continue to take Lamivudine even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • It is important not to miss any doses of Lamivudine . Taking Lamivudine at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
  • If you miss a dose of Lamivudine , take it as soon as possible. If it is within 2 hours of your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Lamivudine .

Important safety information:

  • Lamivudine may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Lamivudine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Your doctor will offer you counseling and testing for HIV infection (the virus that causes AIDS) before treatment with Lamivudine and periodically during treatment. You should not take Lamivudine if you have HIV infection. If you have both hepatitis B virus and HIV, make sure that your doctor knows you have both infections. If you are prescribed lamivudine, you should only use the medicine that is for HIV treatment ( Epivir). The lower dose of lamivudine in Lamivudine could make the HIV infection harder to treat.
  • Lamivudine is not a cure for hepatitis B virus infection. It is unknown if Lamivudine reduces the risk of liver cancer or cirrhosis that may be caused by hepatitis B virus. Some patients developed hepatitis B virus that is resistant to Lamivudine . These patients had less benefit from Lamivudine and some experienced worsening of hepatitis after the resistant virus appeared.
  • Your doctor will perform lab tests for several months after you stop taking Lamivudine . Some patients have had worsening hepatitis B virus after stopping use of Lamivudine . Tell your doctor about any new or unusual symptoms that you notice after stopping treatment.
  • Lamivudine has not been shown to reduce the risk of passing hepatitis B to other people through sexual contact or blood contamination. Use barrier forms of contraception (eg, condoms) if you are infected with hepatitis B virus.
  • Diabetes patients - Lamivudine contains sucrose and may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Lab tests, including liver and kidney function tests, may be performed while you use Lamivudine . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Caution is advised when using Lamivudine in CHILDREN with a history of swelling of the pancreas. Lamivudine should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Lamivudine while you are pregnant. Lamivudine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Lamivudine .

Possible side effects of Lamivudine :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Changes in body fat; chills; coughing; decreased appetite; diarrhea; difficulty sleeping; dizziness; ear, nose, and throat infection; general body discomfort; headache; indigestion; joint pain; muscle pain; nausea; sinus drainage; sore throat; stomach discomfort; tiredness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); dark urine; depression (mental or mood changes); enlarged stomach; increased heart rate; numbness or tingling in the arms or legs; persistent sore throat, chills, or fever; severe muscle or joint pain; stomach tenderness or pain; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual weakness or exhaustion; vomiting; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Lamivudine :

Store Lamivudine at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Lamivudine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Lamivudine , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Lamivudine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Lamivudine . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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