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Lactic Acidosis/Severe Hepatomegaly With Steatosis
Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogues alone or in combination, including lamivudine and other antiretrovirals. A majority of these cases have been in women. Obesity and prolonged nucleoside exposure may be risk factors. Particular caution should be exercised when administering EPIVIR to any patient with known risk factors for liver disease; however, cases also have been reported in patients with no known risk factors. Treatment with EPIVIR should be suspended in any patient who develops clinical or laboratory findings suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity (which may include hepatomegaly and steatosis even in the absence of marked transaminase elevations).
Patients With HIV-1 And Hepatitis B Virus Co-infection
Posttreatment Exacerbations of Hepatitis
In clinical trials in non-HIV-1-infected patients treated with lamivudine for chronic hepatitis B, clinical and laboratory evidence of exacerbations of hepatitis have occurred after discontinuation of lamivudine. These exacerbations have been detected primarily by serum ALT elevations in addition to re-emergence of HBV DNA. Although most events appear to have been self-limited, fatalities have been reported in some cases. Similar events have been reported from postmarketing experience after changes from lamivudine-containing HIV-1 treatment regimens to non-lamivudine-containing regimens in patients infected with both HIV-1 and HBV. The causal relationship to discontinuation of lamivudine treatment is unknown. Patients should be closely monitored with both clinical and laboratory follow-up for at least several months after stopping treatment. There is insufficient evidence to determine whether re-initiation of lamivudine alters the course of posttreatment exacerbations of hepatitis.
Important Differences among Lamivudine-containing Products
EPIVIR tablets and oral solution contain a higher dose of the same active ingredient (lamivudine) than EPIVIR-HBV tablets and EPIVIR-HBV oral solution. EPIVIR-HBV was developed for patients with chronic hepatitis B. The formulation and dosage of lamivudine in EPIVIR-HBV are not appropriate for patients co-infected with HIV-1 and HBV. Safety and efficacy of lamivudine have not been established for treatment of chronic hepatitis B in patients co-infected with HIV-1 and HBV. If treatment with EPIVIR-HBV is prescribed for chronic hepatitis B for a patient with unrecognized or untreated HIV-1 infection, rapid emergence of HIV-1 resistance is likely to result because of the subtherapeutic dose and the inappropriateness of monotherapy HIV-1 treatment. If a decision is made to administer lamivudine to patients co-infected with HIV-1 and HBV, EPIVIR tablets, EPIVIR oral solution, COMBIVIR® (lamivudine/zidovudine) tablets, EPZICOM® (abacavir sulfate and lamivudine) tablets, or TRIZIVIR® (abacavir sulfate, lamivudine, and zidovudine) tablets should be used as part of an appropriate combination regimen.
Emergence of Lamivudine-resistant HBV
In non-HIV-1-infected patients treated with lamivudine for chronic hepatitis B, emergence of lamivudine-resistant HBV has been detected and has been associated with diminished treatment response (see full prescribing information for EPIVIR-HBV for additional information). Emergence of hepatitis B virus variants associated with resistance to lamivudine has also been reported in HIV-1-infected patients who have received lamivudine-containing antiretroviral regimens in the presence of concurrent infection with hepatitis B virus.
Use With Other Lamivudine- And Emtricitabine-Containing Products
EPIVIR should not be administered concomitantly with other lamivudine-containing products including EPIVIR-HBV tablets, EPIVIR-HBV oral solution, COMBIVIR (lamivudine/zidovudine) tablets, EPZICOM (abacavir sulfate and lamivudine) tablets, or TRIZIVIR (abacavir sulfate, lamivudine, and zidovudine) tablets, or with emtricitabine-containing products, including ATRIPLA® (efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir), EMTRIVA® (emtricitabine), STRIBILD® (elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), TRUVADA® (emtricitabine and tenofovir), or COMPLERA® (rilpivirine/emtricitabine/tenofovir).
Use With Interferon- And Ribavirin-Based Regimens
In vitro studies have shown ribavirin can reduce the phosphorylation of pyrimidine nucleoside analogues such as lamivudine. Although no evidence of a pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interaction (e.g., loss of HIV-1/HCV virologic suppression) was seen when ribavirin was coadministered with lamivudine in HIV-1/HCV co-infected patients [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY], hepatic decompensation (some fatal) has occurred in HIV-1/HCV co-infected patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1 and interferon alfa with or without ribavirin. Patients receiving interferon alfa with or without ribavirin and EPIVIR should be closely monitored for treatment-associated toxicities, especially hepatic decompensation. Discontinuation of EPIVIR should be considered as medically appropriate. Dose reduction or discontinuation of interferon alfa, ribavirin, or both should also be considered if worsening clinical toxicities are observed, including hepatic decompensation (e.g., Child-Pugh greater than 6). See the complete prescribing information for interferon and ribavirin.
In pediatric patients with a history of prior antiretroviral nucleoside exposure, a history of pancreatitis, or other significant risk factors for the development of pancreatitis, EPIVIR should be used with caution. Treatment with EPIVIR should be stopped immediately if clinical signs, symptoms, or laboratory abnormalities suggestive of pancreatitis occur [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Immune Reconstitution Syndrome
Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including EPIVIR. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune system responds may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections (such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia [PCP], or tuberculosis), which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.
Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution, however, the time to onset is more variable, and can occur many months after initiation of treatment.
Redistribution/accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. The mechanism and long-term consequences of these events are currently unknown. A causal relationship has not been established.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Long-term carcinogenicity studies with lamivudine in mice and rats showed no evidence of carcinogenic potential at exposures up to 10 times (mice) and 58 times (rats) those observed in humans at the recommended therapeutic dose for HIV-1 infection.
Lamivudine was not active in a microbial mutagenicity screen or an in vitro cell transformation assay, but showed weak in vitro mutagenic activity in a cytogenetic assay using cultured human lymphocytes and in the mouse lymphoma assay. However, lamivudine showed no evidence of in vivo genotoxic activity in the rat at oral doses of up to 2,000 mg per kg, producing plasma levels of 35 to 45 times those in humans at the recommended dose for HIV-1 infection.
Impairment of Fertility
In a study of reproductive performance, lamivudine administered to rats at doses up to 4,000 mg per kg per day, producing plasma levels 47 to 70 times those in humans, revealed no evidence of impaired fertility and no effect on the survival, growth, and development to weaning of the offspring.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Exposure Registry
There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to EPIVIR during pregnancy. Physicians are encouraged to register patients by calling the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry at 1-800-258-4263.
Available data from the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry show no difference in the risk of overall major birth defects for lamivudine compared with the background rate for major birth defects of 2.7% in the US reference population of the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP). Lamivudine produced embryonic toxicity in rabbits at a dose that produced similar human exposures as the recommended clinical dose. The relevance of animal findings to human pregnancy registry data is not known.
Human Data: Based on prospective reports from the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry of over 11,000 exposures to lamivudine during pregnancy resulting in live births (including over 4,300 exposed in the first trimester), there was no difference between lamivudine and overall birth defects compared with the background birth defect rate of 2.7% in the US reference population of the MACDP. The prevalence of defects in the first trimester was 3.1% (95% CI: 2.6% to 3.7%).
Lamivudine pharmacokinetics were studied in pregnant women during 2 clinical trials conducted in South Africa. The trials assessed pharmacokinetics in 16 women at 36 weeks gestation using 150 mg lamivudine twice daily with zidovudine, 10 women at 38 weeks gestation using 150 mg lamivudine twice daily with zidovudine, and 10 women at 38 weeks gestation using lamivudine 300 mg twice daily without other antiretrovirals. These trials were not designed or powered to provide efficacy information. Lamivudine pharmacokinetics in pregnant women were similar to those seen in non-pregnant adults and in postpartum women. Lamivudine concentrations were generally similar in maternal, neonatal, and umbilical cord serum samples. In a subset of subjects, amniotic fluid specimens were collected following natural rupture of membranes and confirmed that lamivudine crosses the placenta in humans. Amniotic fluid concentrations of lamivudine were typically 2 times greater than maternal serum levels and ranged from 1.2 to 2.5 mcg per mL (150 mg twice daily) and 2.1 to 5.2 mcg per mL (300 mg twice daily).
Animal Data: Studies in pregnant rats showed that lamivudine is transferred to the fetus through the placenta. Reproduction studies with orally administered lamivudine have been performed in rats and rabbits at doses producing plasma levels up to approximately 35 times that for the recommended adult HIV dose. No evidence of teratogenicity due to lamivudine was observed. Evidence of embryo-lethality was seen in the rabbit at exposure levels similar to those observed in humans but there was no indication of this effect in the rat at exposure levels up to 35 times those in humans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-1-infected mothers in the United States not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1 infection. Because of the potential for HIV-1 transmission mothers should be instructed not to breastfeed.
The safety and effectiveness of twice-daily EPIVIR in combination with other antiretroviral agents have been established in pediatric patients aged 3 months and older [see ADVERSE REACTIONS, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies].
Clinical trials of EPIVIR did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. In particular, because lamivudine is substantially excreted by the kidney and elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, renal function should be monitored and dosage adjustments should be made accordingly [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Patients With Impaired Renal Function
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/6/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Epivir Information
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