Generic name: Lamivudine.

Other brand names: 3-TC.

Epivir is an antiviral. It inhibits the progression of the HIV virus and significantly raises levels of AZT in blood, thus slowing the progression of AIDS. Used in combination with AZT and a protease inhibitor for people who do not respond to single-drug therapy. 

Quick Facts About Epivir


Used to slow the progress of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in adults, which can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Also prescribed to treat HIV-positive children over 3 months.

Epivir Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed. Do not share Epivir, and do not increase prescribed dose.

  • Usual adult dose: 150 milligrams twice per day. For adults weighing under 110 pounds — 1 milligram per pound of body weight twice per day. Doctor will reduce dose as kidney function decreases.
  • Usual child dose: 12 years and older — follow adult dosing instructions. 3 months to 12 years — approximately 2 milligrams per pound of body weight twice per day up to no more than 150 milligrams per dose. Not recommended for children under 3 months.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses. If more than 2 doses are missed, contact your doctor.

Epivir Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

none reported; however, if you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: abdominal pain or cramps, appetite loss, bone, joint, and muscle pain, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, fever or chills, headache, insomnia, nausea, nervous system problems including “pins and needles” and poor coordination, skin rash, upper respiratory tract problems including cough and runny nose, upset stomach, vomiting.

Less common Epivir side effects: irritation of the pancreas, usually in children.


Inform your doctor before combining Epivir with:

trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Septra), prescribed for opportunistic AIDS-related infections.

No known food/other substance interactions. 

Special Cautions

Effects of Epivir on pregnant women not known. If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Potential benefits may outweigh potential risks. Do not breastfeed; HIV appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant.

Seniors may be prescribed a lower dose, depending on kidney function. Otherwise, no special precautions apply to seniors.

Children may experience tingling in the hands and feet. Inform your doctor immediately if your child develops symptoms of pancreatic inflammation, including feinting, fever, general feeling of extreme illness, shallow and rapid breathing, tense abdominal muscles, or very severe abdominal pain.

  • If you have kidney disease, you may need a lower dose.
  • Long-term effects of medication still are not known. Since the HIV virus remains in the body, risk is still present for complications including opportunistic infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and fungal infection. It is important to remain under the care of a doctor and to go to follow-up appointments.
  • Does not reduce risk of transmitting HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination. Always use condoms and never share needles or equipment for injections with other people.
  • May affect the results of blood tests. Inform any doctor or dentist you visit while taking medication of Epivir therapy.


HealthSurvey.org provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Epivir side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.