Lamivudine is used in the treatment of HIV infection; hepatitis b; nonoccupational exposure; occupational exposure and belongs to the drug class nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It works by decreasing the amount of HIV and hepatitis B in the blood.
Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Lamivudine can be taken with or without food.
HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
This medication may cause lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis can start slowly and get worse over time. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms of lactic acidosis, such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.
Stop using Lamivudine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- signs of a new infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or unusual bleeding, loss of appetite, mouth sores;
- severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
- nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- increased sweating, tremors in your hands, anxiety, feeling irritable, sleep problems (insomnia);
- diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex;
- swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid);
- problems with walking, breathing, speech, swallowing, or eye movement; or
- severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control.
Less serious side effects may include:
- mild tired feeling;
- runny or stuffy nose;
- mild diarrhea; or
- changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.
Before taking Lamivudine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to lamivudine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra) and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had hepatitis B, kidney disease, or pancreas disease (in children only).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking lamivudine, call your doctor. You should not breast-feed while taking Lamivudine.
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially interferons (Alferon, Avonex, Betaseron, Extavia, Intron, Rebetron, Rebif, and others).
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Lamivudine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.