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Epivir-HBV (Generic Lamivudine)

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Epivir-HBV, also known as lamivudine, is an antiviral medication primarily used to treat hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Like all medications, Epivir-HBV carries certain risks, which include:

  • Drug Resistance: Prolonged use of Epivir-HBV can lead to the development of drug-resistant strains of HBV, reducing the effectiveness of the medication.
  • Liver Damage: While Epivir-HBV is used to treat HBV, it can also potentially cause liver damage in some individuals, especially those with pre-existing liver conditions.
  • Lactic Acidosis: This is a rare but serious side effect associated with lamivudine and other nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It involves the buildup of lactic acid in the bloodstream, which can be life-threatening.
  • Exacerbation of Hepatitis: Discontinuing lamivudine treatment abruptly can lead to a sudden worsening of HBV infection, which may result in severe liver problems.
  • Immune Reconstitution Syndrome: In patients co-infected with HIV and HBV who are taking lamivudine, there’s a risk of developing immune reconstitution syndrome, where the restored immune system responds excessively to HBV, leading to inflammation and other complications.
  • Other Side Effects: Common side effects of Epivir-HBV include headache, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and insomnia.

It’s crucial for individuals taking Epivir-HBV to be closely monitored by a healthcare professional to manage these risks effectively and ensure the medication’s benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks. Always consult a doctor or pharmacist for personalized advice regarding medication risks and benefits.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Epivir-HBV, or lamivudine, is prescribed primarily for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. It belongs to a class of medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), which work by blocking the replication of the HBV virus in the body.

Epivir-HBV is effective in reducing the amount of HBV in the body, improving liver function tests, and reducing the risk of complications associated with chronic hepatitis B infection.

How should this medicine be used?

How Epivir-HBV should be used:

  • Dosage: The usual dosage of Epivir-HBV for adults is 100 mg taken orally once daily.
  • Administration: It can be taken with or without food.
  • Duration of Treatment: The duration of treatment with Epivir-HBV varies depending on the severity of the HBV infection and the individual’s response to the medication. Treatment may be long-term and should be determined by a healthcare provider.
  • Missed Dose: If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as remembered, unless it is almost time for the next scheduled dose. In that case, the missed dose should be skipped, and the regular dosing schedule resumed. Double doses should not be taken to make up for a missed dose.
  • Monitoring: Patients taking Epivir-HBV should be regularly monitored by their healthcare provider for liver function tests and to assess the effectiveness of the treatment.

It’s essential to follow the prescribed dosage and administration instructions provided by the healthcare provider. Additionally, individuals should not discontinue the medication without consulting their doctor, as abrupt discontinuation can lead to a worsening of HBV infection and other complications.

Other uses for this medicine

Here are some other uses for Epivir-HBV:

  • HIV Treatment: Lamivudine is commonly used as part of combination therapy for the treatment of HIV infection. It works by inhibiting the replication of the HIV virus, thereby reducing viral load and slowing down the progression of the disease.
  • Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission: Pregnant women with HBV or HIV may be prescribed lamivudine to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their infants during childbirth.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special Precautions for Epivir-HBV:

  • Hepatitis B Flare-up: Individuals with HBV infection who stop taking lamivudine may experience a sudden worsening of hepatitis symptoms. Therefore, discontinuation of treatment should be done under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
  • Lactic Acidosis and Hepatomegaly: Lamivudine, like other nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), may cause lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactic acid in the blood) and hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver), particularly in individuals with liver disease or those who are obese.
  • Renal Impairment: Epivir-HBV is primarily eliminated from the body through the kidneys. Therefore, dosage adjustment may be necessary in individuals with renal impairment.
  • Pancreatitis: Some patients treated with lamivudine may develop pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. It’s essential to monitor for signs and symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Immune Reconstitution Syndrome: In individuals co-infected with HIV and HBV, starting lamivudine treatment may lead to the development of immune reconstitution syndrome, characterized by an inflammatory response to HBV.
  • Drug Interactions: Lamivudine can interact with other medications, so it’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, and dietary supplements.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should discuss the risks and benefits of using lamivudine with their healthcare provider, as there may be potential risks to the fetus or infant.

It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and to report any unusual symptoms or side effects while taking Epivir-HBV.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with taking Epivir-HBV. However, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can support overall health and may benefit individuals with HBV infection. Be sure to stay hydrated and follow any dietary recommendations provided by your healthcare provider.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • Take It as Soon as You Remember: If it is not almost time for your next scheduled dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
  • Skip the Missed Dose if It’s Almost Time for the Next Dose: If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular scheduled time.
  • Do Not Double Up: Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Epivir-HBV, also known as lamivudine, can cause various side effects, although not everyone will experience them. Common side effects include:

  • Nausea: Feeling sick to your stomach or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea: Frequent loose or watery bowel movements.
  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or weak.
  • Headache: Pain or discomfort in the head, often accompanied by sensitivity to light or noise.
  • Dizziness: Feeling unsteady or lightheaded.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Rash: Skin irritation or redness, which may be accompanied by itching.
  • Abdominal Pain: Discomfort or cramping in the stomach area.
  • Muscle Pain: Aches or soreness in muscles.
  • Hair Loss: Thinning or loss of hair, although this is less common.

It’s important to note that these are not all the possible side effects of Epivir-HBV. Some individuals may experience more severe side effects, although these are less common. These may include:

  • Lactic Acidosis: A serious condition characterized by a buildup of lactic acid in the bloodstream. Symptoms may include weakness, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and feeling cold.
  • Severe Skin Reactions: Rarely, Epivir-HBV may cause severe skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis. These conditions involve blistering, peeling, and severe rash, and they require immediate medical attention.

If you experience any unusual or severe side effects while taking Epivir-HBV, contact your healthcare provider right away. They can provide guidance on managing side effects and may adjust your treatment if necessary. Additionally, if you have any concerns or questions about potential side effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and Disposal of Epivir-HBV:

  • Storage: Store Epivir-HBV tablets at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Keep the medication in its original packaging, and ensure it is out of reach of children and pets.
  • Disposal: Dispose of unused or expired Epivir-HBV tablets properly. Do not flush them down the toilet or pour them down the drain unless instructed to do so. Instead, check with your pharmacist or local waste disposal facility on how to dispose of medications safely.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of an overdose or emergency situation related to Epivir-HBV, contact your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. Symptoms of an overdose may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat

What other information should I know?

  • Regular Monitoring: Your healthcare provider will likely monitor your liver function and overall health regularly while you are taking Epivir-HBV. Attend all scheduled appointments and inform your doctor of any changes in your health or symptoms.
  • Adherence to Treatment: It’s essential to take Epivir-HBV exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change the dosage or stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
  • Drug Interactions: Inform your healthcare provider about all other medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with Epivir-HBV. Some drugs may decrease the effectiveness of lamivudine or increase the risk of side effects.
  • Avoiding Transmission: If you have HBV infection, take precautions to prevent the transmission of the virus to others. This includes avoiding sharing needles or personal items such as toothbrushes or razors, and practicing safe sex by using condoms.
  • Medical Alert: Carry a medical identification card or wear a bracelet indicating that you have HBV infection and are taking Epivir-HBV. This can be helpful in case of emergencies.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and ask any questions you may have about Epivir-HBV. It’s essential to be informed about your medication and its potential effects.

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