Lamivudine can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include lactic acidosis (buildup of acid in the blood), severe liver problems, and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in children at risk for pancreatitis.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal lactic acidosis:
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal serious liver problems:
Lamivudine is not approved for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. If you have both HIV and HBV infection and take lamivudine, your HBV infection may get worse (flare up) if you stop taking lamivudine.
Epivir-HBV is a type of lamivudine used to treat HBV infection. You should not take Epivir-HBV if you have or may have HIV infection. Epivir-HBV does not contain an appropriate dose of lamivudine for treatment of HIV infection, and using Epivir-HBV could cause a person’s HIV to become less treatable with lamivudine and some other drugs.
Worsening of liver disease (sometimes resulting in death) has occurred in people infected with both HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) who are taking HIV medicines and are also being treated for HCV with interferon with or without ribavirin. If you are taking lamivudine as well as interferon with or without ribavirin and you experience side effects, tell your health care provider.
While taking lamivudine, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
Lamivudine is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children 3 months of age and older. Lamivudine is always used in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.
Lamivudine is a type of anti-HIV medicine called a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). NRTIs work by blocking HIV reverse transcriptase, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.
Lamivudine does not cure HIV/AIDS. It is not known if lamivudine reduces the risk of passing HIV to other people.
Before taking lamivudine, tell your health care provider:
Lamivudine comes in the following forms and strengths:
Take lamivudine according to your health care provider’s instructions.
Always take lamivudine in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.
If you take too much lamivudine, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
For more information on how to take lamivudine, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Lamivudine can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include lactic acidosis (buildup of acid in the blood), severe liver problems, and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in children at risk for pancreatitis. (See the WARNING above.)
Other possible side effects of lamivudine include:
Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of lamivudine. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for more information on possible side effects of lamivudine.
More information about lamivudine is available:
Last Reviewed: May 6, 2014
Last Updated: May 6, 2014