Lamivudine is used in combination with other medications to treat the infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus responsible for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Lamivudine is one of a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Reverse transcriptase is a part of HIV required to infect cells and make more viruses. Lamivudine prevents reverse transcriptase from working properly and reduces the ability of the virus to reproduce.
Lamivudine does not cure AIDS and does not prevent it from being spread to others. It does slow further growth or reproduction of HIV when used in combination with other medications, and it seems to slow down the destruction of the immune system. This may help to delay the development of problems that are related to AIDS or HIV disease.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
Each mL of colourless-to-pale-yellow, strawberry-banana-flavoured, clear liquid contains 10 mg of lamivudine. Nonmedicinal ingredients: artificial strawberry and banana flavours, citric acid (anhydrous), hydrochloric acid, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben, sodium citrate (dihydrate), sodium hydroxide, sucrose, and water. Each 150 mg (15 mL) contains 3 g of sucrose.
Each, white, modified-diamond-shaped, film-coated tablet imprinted with "GX CJ7" on one face contains 150 mg of lamivudine. Nonmedicinal ingredients: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide.
Each grey, modified-diamond-shaped, film-coated tablet imprinted with "GX EJ7" on one face contains 300 mg of lamivudine. Nonmedicinal ingredients: black iron oxide, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide.
The recommended dose for adults and children who weigh at least 25 kg is 150 mg 2 times daily or 300 mg once daily. Doses for children older than 3 months and less than 25 kg are based on age and body weight, as calculated by the doctor.
Lamivudine may be taken with or without food.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
The effectiveness of the medication depends on there being the right amount of lamivudine in your blood. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Use an oral syringe to measure each dose of the solution, as it gives a more accurate measurement than household teaspoons.
Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Do not take lamivudine if you are allergic to lamivudine or any of the ingredients of the medication.
Do not give this medication to children less than 3 months old.
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
Although most of these side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Diabetes: People with diabetes need to know that an adult dose of the oral (by mouth) solution of lamivudine contains 3 g of sucrose.
Hepatitis B: For people with hepatitis B, your doctor will talk to you about HIV treatment before you begin taking lamivudine. If you have not been tested already, your doctor will suggest that you be tested for hepatitis B before starting this medication. People with HIV and hepatitis B who stop taking lamivudine may experience a recurrence of hepatitis B.
Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome: This medication may cause immune reconstitution syndrome, where signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections appear. These symptoms occur soon after starting anti-HIV medication and can vary. They are thought to occur as a result of the immune system improving and being able to fight infections that have been present without symptoms (such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis). Report any new symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. People with reduced kidney function may need a lower dose of the medication. If you have kidney disease or decreased kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Lactic acid and enlarged liver: Lamivudine can cause a rare, but serious condition called lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid in the blood) together with an enlarged liver. If you experience weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, generally feeling unwell, weakness, or diarrhea, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor will monitor your liver function periodically by ordering laboratory tests.
Pancreatitis: Lamivudine may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). If you develop abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Parents of children who have received anti-HIV medications in the past, have a history of or are at risk of pancreatitis should discuss with their child’s doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Red blood cells: Pure red cell aplasia is a rare bone marrow disorder characterized by a reduction in red blood cells produced by the bone marrow. Symptoms include pallor, weakness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and decreased blood pressure. Be sure to contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking lamivudine, it may affect your baby. Women who have HIV infection are cautioned against breast-feeding because of the risk of passing HIV to a baby who does not have the infection.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of lamivudine have not been established for children less than 3 months of age.
There may be an interaction between lamivudine and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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