By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Epivir Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is Epivir® (lamivudine) used for?

Epivir® is commonly used for treating HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Epivir® is a nucleoside analogue indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV‑1) infection.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should I take Epivir® (lamivudine)?

Lamivudine comes as a tablet and liquid to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 12 hours (twice a day).

Continue to take lamivudine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking lamivudine without talking to your doctor.

How do I store Epivir® (lamivudine)?

Epivir® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Epivir® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Epivir® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Epivir® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Epivir® (lamivudine)?

You should not take Epivir® if you are allergic to lamivudine.

Some people taking Epivir® develop a serious condition called lactic acidosis. This may happen more likely in women, in people who are overweight or have liver disease, and in people who have taken HIV/AIDS medication for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your risk.

Epivir® should not be given to a child younger than 2 years old.

If you have diabetes, you should know that the liquid forms of lamivudine contain 3 to 4 grams of sucrose (sugar) per dose.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Epivir® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Epivir®. Epivir® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

This dug can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breastfeed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Epivir® (lamivudine)?

When using this drug, common side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • General ill feeling
  • Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Pancreas problems such as severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate
  • Liver problems such as nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Epivir® may increase your risk of certain infections or autoimmune disorders by changing the way your immune system works. Symptoms may occur weeks or months after you start treatment with Epivir®. Tell your doctor if you have:

  • Signs of a new infection such as fever, night sweats, swollen glands, mouth sores, diarrhea, stomach pain, weight loss
  • Chest pain (especially when you breathe), dry cough, wheezing, feeling short of breath
  • Cold sores, sores on your genital or anal area
  • Rapid heart rate, feeling anxious or irritable, weakness or prickly feeling, problems with balance or eye movement
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing, severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Epivir® (lamivudine)?

Epivir® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

These products may include:

  • Atripla (efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir)
  • Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine)
  • Complera (rilpivirine, emtricitabine, and tenofovir)
  • Emtriva (emtricitabine)
  • Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine)
  • Stribild (cobicistat, elvitegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir)
  • Trizivir (abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine)
  • Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir)
  • Abacavir (Ziagen)
  • Didanosine (Videx)
  • Emtricitabine (Atripla, Complera, Emtriva, Stribild, Truvada)
  • Stavudine (Zerit)
  • Tenofovir (Viread)
  • Zalcitabine (Hivid)
  • Zidovudine (Retrovir)

Does food or alcohol interact with Epivir® (lamivudine)?

Epivir® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Epivir® (lamivudine)?

Epivir® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Especially, if you have:

  • Liver disease (especially hepatitis B if you are being treated for HIV)
  • Liver transplant
  • Kidney disease
  • A history of pancreatitis


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Epivir® (lamivudine).

What is the dose of Epivir® (lamivudine) for an adult?

The recommended dosage of Epivir® in HIV‑1-infected adults is 300 mg daily, administered as either 150 mg taken orally twice daily or 300 mg taken orally once daily with or without food.

What is the dose of Epivir® (lamivudine) for a child?

The recommended dosage of Epivir® oral solution in HIV‑1-infected pediatric patients aged 3 months and older is 4 mg per kg taken orally twice daily or 8 mg per kg taken orally once daily (up to a maximum of 300 mg daily), administered in combination with other antiretroviral agents.

How is Epivir® (lamivudine) available?

Epivir® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Epivir® scored tablets: 50 mg lamivudine
  • Epivir® oral solution contains: 10 mg lamivudine per 1 ml tablets contain 300 mg of lamivudine

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Epivir®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: March 19, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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