Entecavir - oral
Entecavir - oral
Rarely, entecavir may cause serious (possibly fatal) liver problems and lactic acid build-up in the blood (lactic acidosis). Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms: nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, unusual tiredness/weakness, deep/fast breathing, unusual drowsiness, unusual muscle pain, feeling cold in your arms/legs, fast/irregular heartbeat. These side effects may occur more often in women and obese patients.
Your hepatitis B infection may get worse if you stop taking entecavir. Do not stop this medication without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will do blood tests to check your liver for several months after you stop entecavir.
This medication is not recommended if you have both HIV and hepatitis B and are not receiving effective treatment for HIV. This drug does not treat HIV, and it can cause certain HIV medications to become ineffective. Get an HIV test before starting this medication, and get tested again anytime you may have become infected. Consult your doctor for more details.
See also Warning section.
Entecavir is used to treat long-term hepatitis B infection. Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. Long-term infection can cause liver damage, rarely liver cancer, and liver failure. Entecavir helps to decrease the amount of hepatitis B virus in your body. It is unknown if this medication lowers your chance of getting liver cancer or liver damage. Entecavir is an antiviral that belongs to a class of drugs known as hepatitis B virus nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
Entecavir is not a cure for hepatitis B. It does not prevent the spread of the virus to others through sexual contact or blood/body fluid contamination (such as sharing used needles).
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking entecavir and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth on an empty stomach (at least 2 hours after a meal and 2 hours before the next meal) as directed by your doctor, usually once daily.
If you are taking entecavir oral liquid, carefully measure your dose with the medicine spoon provided. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Swallow the medicine directly from the measuring spoon. Do not mix the medication with water or other liquids. Rinse the spoon with water after each use.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. For children, the dosage is also based on weight.
It is very important to continue taking this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses.
This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Doing so may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects. See also Warning section.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not get better or if it gets worse.
See also Warning section.
Headache, tiredness, dizziness, or nausea may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
In the US -
Before taking entecavir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol may also worsen liver problems. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
To decrease your risk of spreading hepatitis B to others, always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It is not known if this medication helps to prevent the hepatitis B virus from passing from the mother to the baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding. If you also have HIV infection, do not breast-feed because breast milk can transmit HIV.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as liver tests, virus levels) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. To protect from light, store the bottle of medication in the original carton. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised January 2019.
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