Lamivudine (3TC, Epivir)

Lamivudine (3TC, Epivir) is an antiviral drug that reduces the amount of HIV in the body. Anti-HIV drugs such as lamivudine slow down or prevent damage to the immune system, and reduce the risk of developing AIDS-related illnesses. Lamivudine is also active against hepatitis B virus.

Lamivudine is one of the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). These drugs disrupt an HIV protein or enzyme called reverse transcriptase, which is involved in making new viruses. For more information about how NRTIs work, see Reverse transcriptase inhibitors.

In 1996, lamivudine was licensed in Europe as a treatment for HIV when used in combination with other anti-HIV drugs. It was discovered by BioChem Pharma and is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline under the trade name Epivir. Numerous generic versions of lamivudine are available. 

Lamivudine is co-formulated with zidovudine in one pill, known by the trade name Combivir from GlaxoSmithKline. Each Combivir pill contains 150mg lamivudine and 300mg zidovudine. Generic versions of this co-formulation are also available.

A pill that combines 300mg zidovudine, 150mg lamivudine, and 300mg abacavir, known as Trizivir, is also available from GlaxoSmithKline. It was approved in the United States in November 2000 and in the European Union in March 2001.

GlaxoSmithKline also produces a fixed-dose combination of 300mg lamivudine with 600mg abacavir that is suitable for once-daily dosing. It is marketed as Kivexa in Europe and as Epzicom in the United States.

Lamivudine is also approved as a treatment for hepatitis B virus (HBV). In the European Union it is known by the trade name Zeffix and in the United States as Epivir-HBV.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.