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Lamivudine (Epivir, 3TC) Drug for AIDS/HIV: Use, Side Effects, Interactions




Lamivudine
(Epivir, United States; 3TC, Canada)

More drugs used for AIDS/HIV.

Use:

Lamivudine, Epivir or 3TC is an anti-viral drug which is used in infections such as HIV and AIDS.

How It Works:

Lamivudine, Epivir or 3TC is a nucleoside analog. This means that it blocks an enzyme - reverse transcriptase - which the HIV virus needs to replicate. Thus the HIV virus cannot replicate and the viral infection is controlled.
When Lamivudine, Epivir or 3TC is used alone resistance quickly develops, but when it is used in combination with zidovudine or AZT this problem is reduced. Combination use is actually able to increase blood serum levels of AZT.

Side Effects:

The most common side effects are gastrointestinal - upset stomach, nausea, vomiting. A more serious side effect neutropenia - a blood disorder - can mean stopping therapy. Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas can also occur, but is more common in children.

Cautions for People:

People with existing blood problems or pancreas problems should be closely followed.

Drug Interactions:

Lamivudine, Epivir or 3TC is given in combination other anti viral drugs used in HIV infections and AIDS.

Further Reading:

JAMA 1995;274:1183
J Inf Disease 1996;173:355
Science 1995;269:696
Med Letter 1996;38:35
J Inf Disease 1995;171:1411
N Engl J Med 1995;333:1662,450

Added to Virtual Drugstore August 1996.

The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.













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