Medication Information Leaflet

What is this medication for?

It is used to treat hepatitis B infection

Lamivudine is an antiviral medication that reduce the amount of hepatitis B virus in your body. This will help to prevent progression of the disease and its impact on your liver. Lamivudine is not a cure for hepatitis B infection and must be taken consistently.

It is used to treat HIV infection

Lamivudine is an antiretroviral medication used for treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. It works by preventing the virus from reproducing, and hence, reducing the amount of virus in your body. This increases the CD4 cell count in your body. CD4 cells are a type of immune cells that help your body fight infections.

Lamivudine is not a cure for HIV infection. It must be taken consistently every day to slow the progression of the disease.

How should I take/use this medication?

  • Lamivudine is given in combination with other antiretroviral medication. It is important to comply with taking the antiretroviral combination therapy daily.
  • Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your healthcare professional.
  • Do not miss any doses as this may make the medication less effective.
  • You may take this medication with or without food.

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication.
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You experience symptoms of lactic acidosis such as feeling very tired or weakness, having muscle cramps or pain, abdominal cramps, diarrhea or headache.

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Headache
    • Mild painkiller (Paracetamol) can be taken to reduce the pain
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
    • Try taking Lamivudine with or after food
    • Avoid fatty meals and have small frequent meals
    • Try sucking on hard candy to prevent the nausea sensation
  • Diarrhoea
    • Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. If diarrhoea persist, consult your doctor.

Inform your healthcare professional if these side effects persist or are intolerable.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

Stop the medication and consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms of a drug allergy:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

Rarely, lamivudine can cause a build-up of acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Consult your doctor if you experience signs of lactic acidosis such as:

  • Fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness or feeling light-headedness
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Extreme tiredness or weakness
  • Muscle pain or cramps

This medication may affect the liver of some patients. Consult your doctor if you experience signs of liver problem such as:

  • Yellowing of the skin and eye white
  • Dark-coloured urine
  • Light-coloured stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Lower abdominal pain

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication?

Not applicable.

How should I store this medication?

Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep this medication away from children.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack the medication into a bag and bring it back to the pharmacy where you received the medication from.


Please take note that the above is not a complete list of all possible side effects. If you have any concerns about your medication or if you have other side effects that you think are caused by this medication, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on August 2023

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