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Hepsera

Generic Name: adefovir (a DEF o veer)
Brand Name: Hepsera

Medically reviewed on October 9, 2017

What is Hepsera?

Hepsera is an antiviral medication. This medicine prevents viral cells from multiplying in the body and infecting new liver cells.

Hepsera is used to treat chronic hepatitis B in people who are 12 years of age or older. This medicine is not a cure for chronic hepatitis B.

Hepsera may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Hepsera may cause a serious condition called lactic acidosis. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms such as: 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, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.

Hepsera can also cause serious kidney problems, especially if you have kidney disease or take certain medications.

Tell your doctor if you have been exposed to HIV, or if you have untreated HIV or AIDS. Taking medicines to treat chronic hepatitis B can cause HIV infection to become resistant to the standard HIV and AIDS medications. You may need to be tested for HIV before you start taking Hepsera.

You may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using Hepsera.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take Hepsera if you are allergic to it.

Do not take Hepsera if you also take Atripla, Complera, Stribild, Truvada, or Viread.

Some people taking Hepsera develop a serious condition called lactic acidosis. This may be more likely in women, in people who are overweight or have liver disease, and in people who have taken HIV/AIDS medication for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your risk.

Tell your doctor if you have been exposed to HIV, or if you have untreated HIV or AIDS. Taking medicines to treat chronic hepatitis B can cause HIV infection to become resistant to the standard HIV and AIDS medications. You may need to be tested for HIV before you start taking Hepsera.

To make sure Hepsera is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease; or

  • liver disease.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Hepsera will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using this medication.

It is not known whether adefovir passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I take Hepsera?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take Hepsera in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take Hepsera with a full glass of water. This medicine may be taken with or without food.

Use this medicine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. You should not stop using Hepsera without your doctor's advice.

While using Hepsera, you may need frequent blood tests. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be checked. You must remain under the care of a doctor while you are using this medicine. Visit your doctor regularly.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

You may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using Hepsera.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Hepsera?

Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing hepatitis B to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Hepsera side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Early symptoms of lactic acidosis may get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms: 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, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • little or no urinating;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • confusion, loss of appetite, vomiting, pain in your side or lower back; or

  • severe stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Hepsera?

Hepsera can harm your kidneys. This effect is increased when you also use certain other medicines, including: antivirals, chemotherapy, injected antibiotics, medicine for bowel disorders, medicine to prevent organ transplant rejection, and some pain or arthritis medicines (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).

Other drugs may interact with adefovir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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