Common Brand Name(s): 3TC
Important: How To Use This Information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
If you have hepatitis B infection along with HIV, your hepatitis symptoms may get worse or become very serious if you stop taking lamivudine. Talk with your doctor before stopping this medication. Your doctor will perform liver function tests for several months after you stop lamivudine. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of worsening liver problems.
Different brands of this drug have different amounts of drug. Do not switch brands of this medication without first checking with your doctor. If you have HIV infection (with or without hepatitis B infection), you should be taking the higher-strength dosage. Consult your doctor or pharmacist.
This drug is used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life. Lamivudine belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors-NRTI.
Lamivudine is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This product may also be used to lessen the risk of HIV infection after contact with the virus (for example, due to a needle stick). Ask your doctor for more details.
A lower-strength lamivudine product is used for hepatitis B infection in people without HIV infection.
How To Use
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking lamivudine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice daily. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Children's dosage is also based on weight.
It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses. Do not increase your dose, take this drug more often than prescribed, or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.
For the best effect, take this medication at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time(s) every day.
For children, the liquid form of this medication may not work as well as the tablet form. If your child is able to swallow tablets, ask the doctor if your child should be switched to the tablet form of this medication.
See also Warning section.
Headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Rarely, lamivudine has caused severe (sometimes fatal) liver problems and a buildup of lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis). These serious side effects may occur more often in women and obese patients. Get medical help right away if you have any of the following serious symptoms, including:
- symptoms of liver problems (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine)
- symptoms of lactic acidosis (such as deep/rapid breathing, drowsiness, nausea/vomiting)
As your immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including:
- unexplained weight loss
- severe tiredness
- muscle aches/weakness that doesn't go away
- headaches that are severe or don't go away
- joint pain
- numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs
- vision changes
- signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores)
- signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter)
- signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking)
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur:
- mental/mood changes (such as depression)
- stomach/back pain with nausea (pancreatitis)
Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:
- easy bleeding/bruising
- signs of anemia (unusual tiredness, rapid heartbeat, pale/bluish skin)
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking lamivudine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- kidney problems
- liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis)
- alcohol use
Avoid alcoholic beverages because they may increase your risk for liver problems and/or pancreatitis.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This product may contain sugar. Caution is advised if you have diabetes or any other condition that requires you to limit sugar in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.
Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the increased risk of pancreatitis.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, caution is advised when using this drug in older adults because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. Treatment can lower the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Lamivudine passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug are:
- products containing sorbitol
Emtricitabine is similar to lamivudine and should not be taken with this medication. Check the labels on all your HIV medicines because they may contain the same ingredients as found in this product. Taking too much of these drugs will not necessarily improve your condition, and may cause more side effects.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as kidney tests, liver tests, viral load, T-cell counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Keep all medical and laboratory appointments.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store the US product with the lid tightly closed at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom.
Store the Canadian product with the lid tightly closed at 36-77 degrees F (2-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom.
Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised October 2018.
Copyright(c) 2018 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.