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Lamivudine (Systemic)

Description—Lamivudine (la-MI-vyoo-deen) is used in the treatment of the infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Lamivudine is taken together with zidovudine (AZT).

Lamivudine will not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS; however, it helps keep HIV from reproducing and appears to slow down the destruction of the immune system. This may help delay the development of problems usually related to AIDS or HIV disease. Lamivudine will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people. People who receive this medicine may continue to have other problems usually related to AIDS or HIV disease.

Lamivudine is available only with your doctor’s prescription, in the following dosage form:

Oral

•Oral solution (U.S. and Canada)

•Tablets (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using this Medicine—In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For lamivudine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to lamivudine. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Lamivudine has not been studied in pregnant women. However, studies in animals have shown that lamivudine causes birth defects when given in very high doses. Before taking this medicine, make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether lamivudine passes into the breast milk. However, if your baby does not already have the AIDS virus, there is a chance that you could pass it to your baby by breast-feeding. Talk to your doctor first if you are thinking about breast-feeding your baby.

Children—Lamivudine can cause serious side effects. In one study, children with advanced AIDS were more likely than children who were less ill to develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and peripheral neuropathy (a problem involving the nerves). Therefore, it is especially important that you discuss with your child’s doctor the good that this medicine may do as well as the risks of using it. Your child must be seen frequently and your child’s progress carefully followed by the doctor while the child is taking lamivudine.

Older adults—Lamivudine has not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it is not known whether it causes different side effects or problems in the elderly than it does in younger adults.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of lamivudine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

•Kidney disease — Patients with kidney disease may have an increased chance of side effects

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Proper Use/Preparation of this Medicine/Test—Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. Also, do not stop taking lamivudine or zidovudine without checking with your doctor first.

Keep taking lamivudine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better.

This medicine works best when there is a constant amount in the blood. To help keep the amount constant, do not miss any doses. If you need help in planning the best times to take your medicine, check with your health care professional.

If you are using lamivudine oral suspension, use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to measure each dose accurately. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.

Only take medicine that your doctor has prescribed specifically for you. Do not share your medicine with others.

Storage—To store this medicine:

•Keep out of the reach of children.

•Store away from heat and direct light.

•Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.

•Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Dosing—The dose of lamivudine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of lamivudine. Your dose may be different if you have kidney disease. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so:

•For oral dosage forms (oral solution and tablets):

— For treatment of HIV infection or AIDS:

•Adults and teenagers 12 years of age and older weighing 50 kilograms (kg) (110 pounds) or more — 150 milligrams (mg) twice a day together with zidovudine.

•Adults weighing less than 50 kg (110 pounds) — 2 mg per kg of body weight twice a day together with zidovudine.

•Children 3 months to 12 years of age — 4 mg per kg of body weight, up to 150 mg per dose, twice a day together with zidovudine.

Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses..

Precautions While/After Using Receiving this Medicine—It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits.

Do not take any other medicines without checking with your doctor first. To do so may increase the chance of side effects from lamivudine.

Side Effects of this Medicine—Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Unwanted Effects—Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common — More common in children Abdominal or stomach pain (severe); nausea; tingling, burning, numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs; vomiting

Rare

Fever, chills, or sore throat; skin rash; unusual tiredness or weakness

Other Side Effects

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

Less common

Abdominal or stomach pain; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; nausea; trouble in sleeping; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting

Rare

Hair loss

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Additional Information — Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in product labeling, lamivudine is used in certain patients with the following medical condition:

•Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection due to occupational exposure (possible prevention of)

Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for this use.

Source: Health Net