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Epzicom (Generic Lamivudine)

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If you have hepatitis B virus infection or suspect that you may have it, let your doctor know (HBV; an ongoing liver infection). Before you start your lamivudine medication, your doctor may do a test to determine whether you have HBV. When you stop taking lamivudine if you have HBV, your health could suddenly get worse. For several months after you stop taking lamivudine, your doctor will check on you and place lab test orders to see if your HBV has gotten worse.

Epivir-HBV tablets and liquid are not interchangeable with Epivir tablets and liquid, which are intended to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (used to treat hepatitis B infection). Compared to Epivir-HBV, Epivir has a larger dose of lamivudine. When HIV patients take Epivir-HBV, the HIV virus may become less responsive to lamivudine and other medications. You should only use Epivir if you have both HIV and hepatitis B. Consult your doctor about your chances for HIV infection if you are taking Epivir-HBV for hepatitis B.

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To monitor your body’s reaction to lamivudine, your doctor may prescribe specific tests.

You should discuss the dangers of taking lamivudine with your doctor.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is treated with lamivudine (Epivir) and other drugs in adults and children older than 3 months. Hepatitis B infection is treated with the drug lamivudine (Epivir-HBV). The drug lamivudine belongs to the category of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It functions by lowering the blood’s level of hepatitis B and HIV. Although lamivudine does not treat HIV, it may lessen your risk of contracting AIDS and other HIV-related conditions such serious infections or cancer. The danger of transferring the HIV or hepatitis B virus to others can be reduced by taking these medications, engaging in safer sexual behaviour, and altering one’s lifestyle.

How should this medicine be used?

Lamivudine is available as a liquid oral solution and tablet for oral use. Epivir, also known as lamivudine, is typically taken once or twice day with or without food. Usually, one dose of lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) is used each day. Ask your doctor or chemist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Lamivudine should be taken as prescribed. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Although controlling HIV and hepatitis B infection, lamivudine does not treat either condition. Even if you are feeling fine, keep taking lamivudine. Without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking lamivudine. Ask your doctor or chemist for more lamivudine when you start to run low on it. It can be more challenging to treat your disease if you skip doses or stop taking lamivudine.

Other uses for this medicine

In rare cases, lamivudine is combined with other drugs to treat people who have been exposed to HIV by unintentional contact with blood, tissues, or other bodily fluids that have been infected with the virus. Discuss the potential dangers of using this medicine for your illness with your doctor.

Ask your doctor or chemist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking lamivudine,

  • If you have any allergies, including to lamivudine, any other medications, or any of the substances in lamivudine tablets or oral solution, notify your doctor right away. Get a list of the ingredients from your chemist.
  • Inform your doctor and chemist about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products that you are now taking or intend to use. Include the following information: sorbitol, ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, and others), interferon alfa (Intron A), and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra).
  • Infection with the hepatitis C virus, as well as any other liver, kidney, or pancreas diseases, should be disclosed to your doctor (in children only).
  • Inform your physician if you are nursing a baby, intend to get pregnant, or are already pregnant. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking lamivudine. Breastfeeding is not advised if you have HIV or are on lamivudine.
  • You should be aware that when you take HIV medicine, your immune system could become stronger and start to fight other infections that were already present in your body. You might begin to exhibit signs of those infections as a result of this. Be cautious to inform your doctor if your symptoms develop or worsen after commencing lamivudine therapy.
  • If you have diabetes, you should be aware that each tablespoon (15 mL) of lamivudine solution contains 3 grammes of sucrose.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

There may be adverse effects from lamivudine. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Depression
  • Blocked nose

Call your doctor right away if you suffer any of the following symptoms or those detailed in the IMPORTANT CAUTION section:

  • Rash
  • Vomiting (in children)
  • Nausea (in children)
  • Chronic stomach ache that occasionally radiates to the back (in children)
  • Tingling, numbness, or burning in the toes or fingers
  • Severe fatigue, weakened feeling, lightheadedness, erratic heartbeat, muscle aches, stomach aches accompanied by nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing; feeling cold, especially in the arms or legs, or experiencing flu-like symptoms like a fever, chills, or cough
  • Dark yellow or brown urine, light-colored stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes, appetite loss, unusual bleeding or bruises, upper right stomach pain, or any of these symptoms

Further negative effects of lamivudine are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

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

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Keep it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom). Although it is not necessary to refrigerate the oral solution, it should be kept in a cold environment.

Although many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your chemist or the garbage/recycling agency in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medications website at for additional information.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Moreover, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding prescription refills should be directed to your chemist.

Maintain a stock of lamivudine. Do not put off getting a refill on your prescription until you are out of medicine.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Epivir®
  • Epivir-HBV®
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