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Lamivudine Oral solution [Hepatitis B]

It is used to treat hepatitis B

Generic Name: lamivudine  |  Brand Name: Epivir

Brand Names: Epivir, Epivir HBV

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

  • Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis (including some fatalities) reported rarely in patients receiving nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) alone or in conjunction with other antiretrovirals. (See Lactic Acidosis and Severe Hepatomegaly with Steatosis under Cautions.)
  • Epivir® tablets and oral solution (used to treat HIV infection) contain a higher dose of lamivudine than Epivir-HBV® tablets and oral solution (used to treat hepatitis B virus). Patients with HIV should receive only the dosage forms appropriate for treatment of HIV.
  • HIV counseling and testing should be offered to all patients prior to and during Epivir-HBV® therapy. Epivir-HBV® tablets and oral solution contain a lower dose of lamivudine than Epivir® tablets and oral solution. Use of Epivir-HBV® in patients with unrecognized or untreated HIV infection may result in rapid emergence of resistant HIV because the dose is subtherapeutic and monotherapy is inappropriate.
  • Severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis B virus (HBV) reported following discontinuance of lamivudine in patients coinfected with HBV and HIV. Monitor hepatic function closely with both clinical and laboratory follow-up for at least several months after lamivudine is discontinued in patients coinfected with HBV and HIV. If appropriate, initiation of treatment for HBV infection may be warranted.
  • The fixed-combination preparation Combivir® contains 2 NRTIs (lamivudine and zidovudine) the fixed-combination preparation Epzicom® contains 2 NRTIs (lamivudine and abacavir), and the fixed-combination preparation Trizivir® contains 3 NRTIs (abacavir, lamivudine, zidovudine); these are intended only for patients whose regimen would otherwise include lamivudine and the other components.
  • If using Combivir® or Trizivir®, consider that zidovudine has been associated with hematologic toxicity including neutropenia and severe anemia, particularly in those with advanced HIV infection; and that prolonged zidovudine use has been associated with symptomatic myopathy.
  • If using Trizivir®, consider that data are limited regarding use of the fixed combination in patients with higher viral loads (>100,000 copies/mL) at baseline.
  • If using Epzicom® or Trizivir®, consider that abacavir has been associated with serious and sometimes fatal hypersensitivity reactions.

What is this medicine?

LAMIVUDINE, 3TC (la ME vyoo deen, 3TC) is an antiviral medicine. It is used to treat hepatitis B. It will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • diabetes
  • drink alcohol daily
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • organ transplant
  • pancreatitis
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to lamivudine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Use a specially marked spoon or container to measure each dose. Ask your pharmacist if you do not have one. Household spoons are not accurate. You may take this medicine with or without food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Take each dose exactly as prescribed. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine even if you feel better. Skipping doses may make the hepatitis B virus resistant to this medicine and other medicines. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 2 years old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Overdosage: If you think you've taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • other lamivudine medicines
  • sulfamethoxazole; trimethoprim, SMX-TMP
  • trimethoprim
  • zalcitabine, ddC

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. Discuss any new symptoms with your doctor. You will need to have important blood work done while on this medicine.

Hepatitis B is spread to others through sexual or blood contact. Talk to your doctor about how to stop the spread of hepatitis B.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • breathing difficulties
  • depression
  • muscle aches, pains, weakness
  • pain, tingling, numbness in the hands or feet
  • unusually weak or tired
  • weight gain around waist, back, or thinning of face, arms, legs
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (Report these to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome.):

  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty sleeping
  • hair loss
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting
  • runny, stuffy nose
  • stomach pain, upset

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at a room temperature of 20 to 25 degrees C (68 to 77 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

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.

Last Updated: October 13, 2011
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