National Stroke Foundation

Epivir (lamivudine)

The following drug information is obtained from various newswires, published medical journal articles, and medical conference presentations.


Approval Status:

Approved April 1999

Specific Treatments:

Immunology/Infectious Diseases

Therapeutic Areas

General Information

3TC is an antiretroviral (anti-HIV) agent, which belongs to a class of drugs called nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors. 3TC is used in combination with other antiretrovirals to suppress the HIV. It has recently been approved for adolescents, children, and infants from three months of age. In addition, this approval also includes an important revision to the indication for use of Epivir in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children.

In adults and adolescents (12 to 16 years of age) with HIV infection, Epivir is dosed as one 150 mg tablet, twice daily, administered in combination with other antiretroviral drugs. The recommended oral dose of Epivir for pediatric patients three months to 12 years of age is 4 mg/kg twice daily (up to a maximum of 150 mg twice a day) administered in combination with other antiretroviral agents.

Side Effects

3TC is generally well tolerated; should side effects occur, these are more likely due to your other medications. Headache, diarrhea, fatigue, and other side effects are possible; therefore report any unusual effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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

Mechanism of Action

A nucleoside analog, 3TC blocks an enzyme called reverse transcriptase which HIV needs to replicate. Thus HIV can't replicate and the virus is controlled.