Lamivudine is a medicine used to control certain complicated viral infections such as HIV/ AIDS and Hepatitis B in combination with other medicines. This medicine is classified as an ‘antiviral.’
Uses of Lamivudine
- Lamivudine is used along with other medications to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection in adults and children
- This medicine is also used to treat viral infection of the liver, but only at a lower dose (Hepatitis B infection), which is not severe (compensated liver disease) or which is very critical (decompensated liver disease), in adultsread less
Contraindications of Lamivudine
When should one not use Lamivudine
Allergy to Lamivudine or any other components of the medicine.
Side effects of Lamivudine
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Headache, feeling sick (nausea), vomiting, generalized discomfort
- Stomach pain, loose motions
- Fever, muscle and joint pains
- Cough, running nose
- Rashes, hair loss
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Decreased red blood cell counts (anemia), platelets (thrombocytopenia) or a type of white blood cells (neutropenia), elevated liver enzymes
- Severe allergic reactions causing facial and throat swelling, difficulty in swallowing and breathing with or without rashes, itching; infections of the pancreas; breakdown of muscle; enlarged liver
Precautions and Warnings of Lamivudine
Can I take Lamivudine during pregnancy?
Lamivudine has the potential to harm the unborn baby, though not significantly. Since HIV is a severe condition which requires treatment to be continued (stopping the medication will cause the virus to multiply rapidly), it is usually given in pregnant women. Discuss with your doctor in detail before using.
Can I take Lamivudine while breastfeeding?
- Women detected with HIV-positive must not breastfeed
- A small amount of this medicine is secreted in breast milk
Can I drive if I have consumed Lamivudine?
Lamivudine usually doesn’t affect your ability to drive.
Can I consume alcohol with Lamivudine?
Consuming alcohol when you have HIV can lead to bone damage (osteonecrosis) in some patients. It is better to avoid alcohol as the general condition of the body in HIV/ AIDS is not good.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- You have or had any liver or kidney disease in the past
- You are obese/ overweight (women need to be more careful)
- You or your child have kidney problems
Mode of Action of Lamivudine
How Does It Work?
Lamivudine works by interfering with multiplication or replication of the genetic material (DNA or RNA) of the virus; this will reduce the virus load in the blood and will bring the infection under control.
Interactions of Lamivudine
Interactions with other medicines
- If you regularly take medicines containing Sorbitol or other sugar alcohols (Xylitol, Mannitol, Lactitol, Maltitol)
- Other medicines containing Lamivudine or a closely related medicine used to treat HIV/ AIDS (Emtricitabine)
- Co-trimoxazole (antibiotic) or Cladribine (used to treat a type of white blood cell cancer)
Interactions with food items
Lamivudine can be taken with or without meals.
Dietary Restrictions of Lamivudine
No information is available on dietary restrictions while you are taking this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information.
Dosage of Lamivudine
Unintentional overdose with Lamivudine may not be harmful. Seek medical attention if you feel uncomfortable following the overdose.
Missed a Dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is too late. But, do not take a higher or a double dose to compensate for the missed dose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is there anything else I need to know before taking Lamivudine?
- For treatment of HIV, Lamivudine is available in tablet and syrup forms that can be taken by mouth
- The syrup can be used in children above three months of age and in adults who are not comfortable taking the tablet. Patients can also switch between the syrup and the tablet, based on convenience
- In Hepatitis B, treatment with Lamivudine can be given alone in liver disease where the liver is damaged but still functioning (a condition called compensated liver disease), only when first-line medicines cannot be usedread less
- In case of severe liver damage where the liver has stopped operating (decompensated liver disease), Lamivudine must be used in combination with another medicine
- Do not have unprotected sex when you have HIV/ AIDS or Hepatitis B
Q: Is HIV treatment safe?
- HIV treatment can cause an increase in cholesterol and glucose levels in blood. Regular tests are required to monitor this
- HIV/ AIDS will cause a lot of symptoms, which are similar to the side effects caused due to the medicines used in the treatment. It is not easy to distinguish, and you are advised to inform your doctor of any symptoms that are making you uncomfortableread less
- HIV/ AIDS weakens your immune system. When you start the treatment, control of the virus may cause your immune system to recover, leading to overreaction in some cases, which can be serious
- Inform your doctor if you start feeling weak, pounding heartbeats (palpitations) or tremors
- HIV treatment can also damage your bones, creating a condition called osteonecrosis causing permanent damage to bones and severe, disabling joint pains. Inform your doctor promptly if you experience any aches or stiffness of joints.read less
Q: Does Lamivudine cure HIV or Hepatitis B?
- Though 1-2 out of 100 cases of Hepatitis B infection can be cured, there is no definite cure for Hepatitis B or HIV/ AIDS
- But, it is not a cause to worry anymore. With the currently available medicines, both the infections can be kept under control for a very long time, and the patient can lead a normal life like others, provided he or she takes medicines every dayread less
- EMC lamivudine. [accessed on 14 Sep,2019](Online)
- EMC lamivudine. [accessed on 14 Sep,2019](Online)
- Webmd lamivudine[accessed on 24Aug2019] (Online)
- Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Lamivudine. [Updated 2019 May 1]. Available from:
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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