lamivudine

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Epivir, Epivir HBV, |lamivudine

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lamivudine

Generic Name: lamivudine (la MIV yoo deen)
Brand Names: Epivir, Epivir HBV

What is lamivudine?

Lamivudine is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

The Epivir brand of lamivudine is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Lamivudine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. The Epivir-HBV brand of lamivudine is used to treat chronic hepatitis B. Epivir-HBV should not be used in people who are infected with both hepatitis B and HIV.

Lamivudine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about lamivudine?

Lamivudine should not be taken together with Combivir, a medication that contains a combination of lamivudine and zidovudine. Lamivudine may cause lactic acidosis (the build up of lactic acid in the body). Lactic acidosis symptoms can start slowly and gradually get worse. Symptoms include unusual muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing, fast or uneven heart rate, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and numbness or cold feeling in your arms or legs. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Lamivudine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver or pancreas. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms while taking lamivudine: severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, fast heart rate, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Before taking lamivudine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, a history of pancreatitis, or if you have used a medicine similar to lamivudine in the past, such as abacavir (Ziagen), didanosine (Videx), stavudine (Zerit), tenofovir (Viread), zalcitabine (Hivid), or zidovudine (Retrovir).

If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking lamivudine, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function on a regular basis for several months after you stop using this medication. Do not miss any scheduled visits.

Epivir tablets and liquid contain a higher dose of lamivudine than Epivir-HBV. Epivir is for treating HIV and Epivir-HBV is for treating hepatitis B. Each time you get a refill of this medication, be sure you have received the correct brand to treat your condition.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking lamivudine?

Do not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine containing lamivudine, including Combivir, Epzicom, or Trizivir.

You should not take lamivudine if you are also taking Combivir (lamivudine/zidovudine).

Before taking lamivudine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease (including hepatitis B);
  • a history of pancreatitis; or

  • if you have used a medicine similar to lamivudine in the past, such as abacavir (Ziagen), didanosine (Videx), stavudine (Zerit), tenofovir (Viread), zalcitabine (Hivid), or zidovudine (Retrovir).

If you have any of the conditions listed above, you may not be able to use lamivudine or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

Lamivudine may cause lactic acidosis (the build up of lactic acid in the body). Lactic acidosis symptoms can start slowly and gradually get worse. Symptoms include unusual muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing, fast or uneven heart rate, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and numbness or cold feeling in your arms or legs. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Lamivudine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver or pancreas. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms while taking lamivudine: severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, fast heart rate, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. HIV can be passed to the baby if the mother is not properly treated during pregnancy. Lamivudine may also be more likely to cause pancreatitis in a pregnant woman. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection while you are pregnant.

Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using lamivudine. The purpose of this registry is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and delivery to evaluate whether lamivudine had any effect on the baby.

You should not breast-feed while you are using lamivudine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.

If you have diabetes, you should know that the liquid forms of this medication contain 3 to 4 grams of sucrose (sugar) per dose.

How should I take lamivudine?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take lamivudine with a full glass of water.

Lamivudine can be taken with or without food.

Measure the liquid form of lamivudine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.

Epivir tablets and liquid contain a higher dose of lamivudine than Epivir-HBV. Epivir is for treating HIV and Epivir-HBV is for treating hepatitis B. Each time you get a refill of this medication, be sure you have received the correct brand to treat your condition.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function at regular visits for several months after you stop using lamivudine. Do not miss any scheduled visits.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat. You may keep the oral solution (liquid) in the refrigerator but do not let it freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. The symptoms of a lamivudine overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while taking lamivudine?

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking lamivudine. Alcohol may increase the risk of damage to the pancreas and/or liver.

Taking lamivudine will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people through unprotected sex or sharing of needles. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex, such as using a condom and spermicide. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Lamivudine side effects

Stop using lamivudine and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:

  • liver damage - nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • lactic acidosis - muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, nausea with vomiting, and fast or uneven heart rate;

  • pancreatitis - severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;

  • peripheral neuropathy - numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet;

  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, pale skin;

  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or

  • any other signs of new infection.

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • cough;

  • sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • dizziness, headache, tired feeling; or

  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect lamivudine?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • interferon-alfa (Roferon, Intron, Rebetron);

  • trimethoprim (Bactrim, Proloprim, Septra, Trimpex); or

  • ribavirin (Rebetol, Ribasphere, Copegus Virazole).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use lamivudine, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect lamivudine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about lamivudine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Lamivudine is available with a prescription under the brand names Epivir and Epivir-HBV. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Epivir 150 mg--white, modified diamond-shaped, film-coated tablets

  • Epivir Oral Solution 10 mg/mL--clear, colorless to pale yellow, strawberry-banana-flavored liquid

  • Epivir-HBV 100 mg-butterscotch-colored, capsule-shaped, film-coated tablets

  • Epivir-HBV Oral Solution 5 mg/mL-clear, colorless to pale yellow, strawberry-banana-flavored liquid

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ("Multum") is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum"s drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum"s drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.05. Revision Date: 04/23/2007 9:09:16 AM.




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