Epivir, also known as lamivudine, is an anti-HIV drug that prevents both the HIV virus and the Hepatitis B virus from reproducing in the body. It is used primarily for treating HIV, which can lead to AIDS. However, it is not by any means a cure for either HIV or AIDS.
Epivir-HBV is the variation of Epivir that combats the Hepatitis B virus. It should not be used if the patient has both Hep B and HIV.
Epivir could cause a condition known as lactic acidosis which is a serious disorder. If symptoms like muscle pain, weakness, numbness, coldness in arms and legs, troubled breathing, abdominal pain, nausea, a threaded pulse and weakness should appear, get emergency help immediately.
Epivir is also a factor in severe hepatic and pancreatic disorders. If you experience severe pain in your abdomen, itchiness, nausea, dark urine and clay colored stools, or jaundice, make sure you call your doctor immediately.
If your condition is Hepatitis B, liver symptoms may develop even after Epivir treatment has been stopped. Check your liver function regularly with your doctor for a few months after the course of treatment has ended.
Epivir is a drug whose effects on unborn children is unknown. However, the HIV virus can pass on to an unborn child if treatment isn’t done during the pregnancy. If you are, or will become pregnant during treatment, tell your doctor.
Epivir can pass into breast milk. This in turn could harm a baby being breast fed. If you are on Epivir, do not breast feed your child. If you have HIV or AIDS, never breast feed your child. Even if the kid doesn’t have HIV, it can be passed on in the milk.
This drug doesn’t prevent you from passing HIV on to other people. Do not engage in unprotected sex. Do not share syringes. Minimize other people’s exposure to your blood.
Epivir should be taken exactly as prescribed. All instructions need to be followed precisely. NEVER take Epivir in larger doses than has been advised. Do not take it for longer than you have been told to.
Do not take Epivir in conjunction with Epivir-HBV. It can be taken with or without food. If you are giving Epivir to a child, break the tablet in half to make it easier to swallow.
If your child is on Epivir and experiences weight changes, tell your doctor. The dosage is based on weight, so it may need to be changed.
If the liquid is being taken, measure it out with a dose measuring device like a cup or spoon. Do not use a regular spoon. Measuring cups can be bought at a pharmacy.
Make sure you get the right brand. Epivir has more lamivudine in it than Epivir HBV. When getting a refill, make sure you ask for and double check that you have the right one.
Missed doses and overdose
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is close to your next dose, skip the one you missed. Never take extra medicine to make up for it.
If you overdose, call your local poison hotline and the emergency medical services in your region immediately.
Common side effects of Epivir include:
Cold symptoms (stuffy nose, sneezing)
Abnormal liver test results
More serious side effects are:
Muscle pain and weakness
Numbness and coldness
Threaded, rapid pulse
Liver problems (jaundice, dark stools)
Call your doctor immediately if you notice these.
Stop taking Epivir immediately if you experience an allergic reaction with hives, swelling and trouble breathing.
Do not take Epivir with: