Also called Epivir, 3TC is categorized as an antiretroviral medicine used in treating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This drug is often taken with other HIV medications, such as zidovudine and abacavir. It comes in the form of a tablet and oral solution, making it easy to consume for adults and children. The brand name of 3TC is Lamivudine. It is also available as these other brand names - Heptovir, Lamivir, Lamivir HBV.
How does 3TC work?
3TC is classified under the group of drugs called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It works by reducing the number of HIV in infected individuals. It blocks the functions of the virus, thus reversing the activity of the reverse transcriptase. The reverse transcriptase is a significant enzyme that HIV uses to multiply in the body. As an NRTI, 3TC is capable of boosting the body’s immune system, giving it leverage to fight off infections.
Weight (3 months old and less than 25 kg for children)
Adults & Children (weighing at least 25 kg)
300 mg daily
150 mg (twice daily)
Pediatric Patients (weighing at least 20 kg but less than 25 kg)
225 mg daily
Pediatric patients (weighing at least 14 but less than 20 kg)
150 mg daily
How to take it?
Lamivudine can be consumed once or twice daily – orally. It is ingested with or without meals. Be sure to take this medication at the same time every day. Following the instructions in the prescription provided by the physician is essential. Doing so will make the treatment a successful one. In cases where you mistakenly skipped one dose, taking it urgently is a must. However, if it’s time for the next dose, do not take the skipped dose. This is to avoid taking two doses at one time. Take note that without the approval of your healthcare professional, you cannot adjust nor stop the medication. Ensure to follow all the instructions detailed by the healthcare professional. The drug has also a corresponding leaflet that you can use in case you need more information and details about the medication.
Lamivudine side effects
Consider the following side effects categorized by their severity. Note that side effects often go away after a few days of your first dose. However, should these side effects persist, call your doctor at once.
Mild Side Effects
Severe Side Effects
Difficulty swallowing or breathing
Blisters or peeling skin
Excessive tiredness or weakness
Tingling in the arms or legs
Unusual bleeding or bruising
Light-coloured bowel movements
Yellowing of the skin or eyes
Vomiting or nausea (in children)
Store the medication in a tightly-sealed container. Avoid placing the medicine from direct sunlight. Lamivudine must be secured in its original container or package. In cases where the medicine has reached its expiry date, dispose of it immediately.