Chemical Name: LAMIVUDINE (la-MI-vyoo-deen)
Epivir is a nucleoside analogue used with other medicines (such as zidovudine or ritonavir) to treat human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV).
WARNING: A BUILDUP OF LACTIC ACID IN THE BLOOD (LACTIC ACIDOSIS), SEVERE LIVER PROBLEMS, AND IN SOME CASES DEATH, have been reported with the use of lamivudine, either alone or in combination with other medicines used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. SOME FORMS OF Epivir CONTAIN A LOWER DOSE OF LAMIVUDINE used to treat hepatitis B infection only. Epivir contains the dose of lamivudine intended to treat HIV infection, with or without hepatitis B infection. Do not switch brands of Epivir without first checking with your doctor. IF YOU ALSO HAVE HEPATITIS B INFECTION, WORSENING OF YOUR CONDITION MAY OCCUR if you stop taking Epivir. DO NOT STOP TAKING Epivir without your doctor's approval. Some medicines or medical conditions may interact with Epivir. INFORM YOUR DOCTOR OR PHARMACIST of all prescription and over-the-counter medicine that you are taking. DO NOT TAKE Epivir if you are also taking zalcitabine, or other products containing lamivudine. If you are currently taking any of these medicines, tell your doctor before starting Epivir. DO NOT START OR STOP any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval. Inform your doctor of any other medical conditions including pancreatitis, hepatitis B infection or other liver problems, kidney problems, diabetes, allergies, pregnancy, or breast feeding. USE OF Epivir IS NOT RECOMMENDED if you have a history of abnormal liver function tests, severe liver problems, or lactic acidosis. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about taking Epivir.
Follow the directions for taking Epivir provided by your doctor. Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure this dose. Epivir may be taken on an empty stomach or with food. STORE Epivir at room temperature in a tightly-closed container, away from heat and light. CONTINUE TO TAKE Epivir even if you feel well. It is important not to miss doses of Epivir. Taking Epivir at the same times each day will help you to remember. IF YOU MISS A DOSE OF Epivir, 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.
DO NOT TAKE Epivir if you have had an allergic reaction to it or are allergic to any ingredient in this product. DO NOT EXCEED THE RECOMMENDED DOSE of Epivir without checking with your doctor. Exceeding the recommended dose of Epivir may not provide additional benefits and may increase the risks of side effects. Epivir IS NOT A CURE FOR HIV INFECTION and will not prevent you from spreading HIV infection to others through sexual contact. Epivir MAY NOT PREVENT OTHER INFECTIONS. If your health changes, check with your doctor. DO NOT STOP TAKING Epivir without first checking with your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the medicine is suddenly stopped. Laboratory and/or medical tests, including liver and kidney function tests may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. KEEP ALL DOCTOR AND LABORATORY APPOINTMENTS while you are taking Epivir. Epivir may cause drowsiness or dizziness. DO NOT DRIVE, OPERATE MACHINERY, OR DO ANYTHING ELSE THAT COULD BE DANGEROUS until you know how you react to Epivir. Using Epivir alone, with other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks. BEFORE YOU BEGIN TAKING ANY NEW MEDICINE, either prescription or over-the-counter, check with your doctor or pharmacist. CAUTION IS ADVISED WHEN USING Epivir IN CHILDREN with a history of pancreatitis, or who have taken other medicines for HIV infection. FOR WOMEN: IF YOU PLAN ON BECOMING PREGNANT, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Epivir during pregnancy. Epivir IS EXCRETED in breast milk. DO NOT BREAST-FEED while taking Epivir. IF YOU HAVE DIABETES, Epivir contains sucrose and may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely and ask your doctor before adjusting the dose of your diabetes medicine.
Possible side effects
SIDE EFFECTS that may occur while taking Epivir include headache, dizziness, and tiredness; decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or indigestion; difficulty sleeping; sinus drainage, and coughing; and changes in body fat (such as increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, or decreased fat in the arms and legs). If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you experience swelling or soreness of the mouth or tongue, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, severe muscle or joint pain, unusual weakness or exhaustion, unusual bleeding or bruising, or depression/mental or mood changes. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if you experience irregular heartbeat; persistent sore throat, chills, or fever; severe stomach pain, or darkening of your urine. An allergic reaction to Epivir is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
If you take too much
IF OVERDOSE IS SUSPECTED, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.
If you have any questions concerning how to prevent spreading HIV infection to other people, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. DO NOT SHARE Epivir with others for whom it was not prescribed. DO NOT USE Epivir for other health conditions. KEEP Epivir out of the reach of children. IF YOU WILL BE USING Epivir FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, be sure to obtain necessary refills before your supply runs out.