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Lamivudine oral

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.




WARNING: Lamivudine has caused severe, even fatal, liver and blood acid-base problems (lactic acidosis). Immediately notify your doctor if you develop dark urine, unusual fatigue, yellowing of the skin or eyes, rapid breathing, drowsiness, muscle aches, or stomach/abdominal pain. Different generics of this drug have different amounts of active drug. Do not switch generics of this medication without first checking with your doctor. If you have an HIV infection, you should be taking the higher strength dosage. Consult your doctor or pharmacist.


Lamivudine is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor antiviral agent used in combination with other antivirals for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. It works by slowing the growth of the virus. This medication is not a cure for HIV, nor does it prevent the passing of HIV to others. This medication contains lamivudine. The use of lamivudine, abacavir, and tenofovir in combination may not be effective in treating HIV infection. If you are currently taking all three of these drugs, your doctor or pharmacist should carefully review your treatment plan. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.



This medication may also be used to prevent HIV after coming in contact with the virus.

How To Use

Take this by mouth exactly as directed usually once or twice a day. Follow your dosing instructions closely. May be taken with or without food. This medication is often given in combination with zidovudine (AZT) for best effects. Follow directions for taking zidovudine carefully.

Side Effects

Headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, change in appetite, dizziness, weakness or muscle aches may occur. If these symptoms continue or become severe, inform your doctor. Notify your doctor if you experience: a skin rash, fever, chills, stuffy nose, cough, stomach pain, severe weakness, unusual fatigue, tingling of the hands or feet, rapid breathing, dark urine, yellowing of the eyes or skin. Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (e.g., increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs). The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss the risks and benefits of therapy with your doctor, as well as the possible role of exercise to reduce this side effect. In the unlikely event you have an allergic reaction to this drug, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, breathing trouble. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, pancreatic disorders, hepatitis B, allergies, heart disease, major surgery/infection/injury, liver problems, alcohol usage. Caution is advised when using this medication in children (especially in children with pancreatitis) because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug. This medication should be used only if clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is not known if lamivudine is excreted into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of any nonprescription or prescription medication you may take, including: sulfamethoxazole- trimethoprim, lamivudine/zidovudine combination product, abacavir and tenofovir, zalcitabine. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.


If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.


This medication is not a cure for HIV infection but has shown some positive results. The long-term effects are unknown at this time. Keep all doctor appointments and scheduled laboratory tests as your condition will be monitored closely. Be aware that this medication does not reduce the risk of passing the virus to others through sexual contact or blood contamination. This is a potent medication which should not be shared. Do not allow anyone else to take your medication.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is within 2 hours of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. It is important not to miss doses of this drug.


Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from heat, light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.