Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Diabetes: People with diabetes need to know that an adult dose of the oral (by mouth) solution of lamivudine contains 3 g of sucrose.
Hepatitis B: For people with hepatitis B, your doctor will talk to you about HIV treatment before you begin taking lamivudine. If you have not been tested already, your doctor will suggest that you be tested for hepatitis B before starting this medication. People with HIV and hepatitis B who stop taking lamivudine may experience a recurrence of hepatitis B.
Immune reconstitution syndrome: This medication may cause immune reconstitution syndrome, where signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections appear. These symptoms occur soon after starting anti-HIV medication and can vary. They are thought to occur as a result of the immune system improving and being able to fight infections that have been present without symptoms (such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis). Report any new symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. People with reduced kidney function may need a lower dose of the medication. If you have kidney disease or decreased kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Lactic acid and enlarged liver: Lamivudine can cause a rare, but serious condition called lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid in the blood) together with an enlarged liver. If you experience weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, generally feeling unwell, weakness, or diarrhea, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor will monitor your liver function periodically by ordering laboratory tests.
Pancreatitis: Lamivudine may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). If you develop abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. Parents of children who have received anti-HIV medications in the past, have a history of or are at risk of pancreatitis should discuss with their child's doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Red blood cells: Pure red cell aplasia is a rare bone marrow disorder characterized by a reduction in red blood cells produced by the bone marrow. Symptoms include pallor, weakness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and decreased blood pressure. Be sure to contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. Since HIV can be transmitted by breast milk, women who have HIV should not breast-feed.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of lamivudine in combination with other antiretroviral medications have not been established for children less than 3 months of age.