AIDS Home > What Is Lamivudine Used For?

Lamivudine is used for the treatment of hepatitis, HIV infection, and AIDS in adults and children. Although the medication is not a cure for these conditions, it can help prevent the viruses from spreading to uninfected cells in the body. Off-label lamivudine uses may include the prevention of HIV in people exposed to the virus (i.e., a healthcare worker who comes in contact with a contaminated needle stick).

An Overview of Lamivudine Uses

Lamivudine (Epivir®) is a prescription medicine approved for the treatment of the following conditions:
  • AIDS and HIV infection
  • Hepatitis.
Lamivudine belongs to a group of medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (also known as NRTIs).

Lamivudine for Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver caused by a virus (specifically, the hepatitis B virus). There are two types of hepatitis B -- acute (recently acquired) and chronic (lifelong). For most people with acute hepatitis B, symptoms gradually get better within a couple of months. These people will have no long-lasting liver damage and will recover completely.
For some people, the body is not able to completely get rid of the virus. These people end up having a long-term liver infection. This is called chronic hepatitis B. People with chronic hepatitis B can infect others and are at an increased risk of serious liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. In the United States, an estimated 1.25 million people are chronically infected with HBV.
Lamivudine is approved to treat hepatitis B in people who are experiencing liver damage due to chronic infection with the virus. Lamivudine will not cure hepatitis B, but it can help slow or prevent liver damage.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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