There is no greater fear in life than death. Our irony is that we are born to die. Our natural state is one of birth followed by death. Our fears are greater once our bodies have encountered a disease such as cancer or HIV. At that point, our main goal is to prolong life. Our intent becomes to enjoy the things that you wanted to achieve. To leave behind the mundane tasks. Not only to get better for our family’s sake but for our own. To extend our mortality leads us to search for new treatment options not yet publicly available. A willingness to take risks since the end is near anyway. That thought process has led us to develop drugs such as Epivir (#Epivir).
Epivir is known by its nickname 3TC or its active ingredient of lamivudine. In scientific terms, this drug is known as a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI). These are fancy scientific words to describe viral infection copy blockers. You see, when a virus such as HIV infects a cell, it uses the host to make copies of itself. The virus copies a single strand of RNA into a double stranded DNA. Simply put, RNA is the single form of DNA used in cell replication. So once the DNA is made by the virus, it integrates itself into the cell and fools the cell into thinking that it is making copies of itself. The DNA acts like a template which the cell uses to make copies of the virus.
This nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NRTI actually prevents the virus from making a complete double strand of DNA. By not being able to complete the process, it can’t copy itself and further infect other cells. As you can see, drugs like Epivir do not kill off the viral infection. Instead it prevents the viral infection from spreading. Epivir is most effective against HIV and Hepatitis B. So when used in combination with other drugs, it can provide a one two punch to prolong life.
First let us begin with the fact that no matter how good lamivudine Epivir is designed, there are side effects that must be considered. Secondly, lets look at the most common side effects which are allergic reactions such as hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. This is caused by some of the ingredients used to make the drug. The next potentially harmful side effect is lactic acidosis which is a buildup of lactic acid in your body. If you remember lactic acid, it is the byproduct of muscles after strenuous activities such as exercise. Some of these symptoms include muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate and dizziness.
For those that have the unfortunate luck of being HIV positive and Hepatitis B, you have to be extremely careful of liver damage or kidney problems. This is especially true if you consume alcohol even in moderate amounts. Other less serious side effects include unexplained weight loss, signs of an overactive thyroid (irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance) including unusual growth in the neck or thyroid. There have been reports of changes in body fat whereby you see an increase in fat in the upper back and stomach areas and a decrease in fat in the arms and legs.
Dosage And Treatment
There are two types of formulations available. The first type is Epivir while the second is Epivir-HBV. Epivir is used exclusively in the treatment of HIV while Epivir-HBV is used for the treatment of Hepatitis B. Both types come in tablet form or oral solution. It all depends on what your doctor is comfortable with. Since both versions are slightly different, only one version can be used. Using both versions of this medication can actually do a lot more harm than good. A main point is to follow the instructions as described by your doctor.
What would you be willing to do to prolong your life?