Abacavir works with other medications to treat HIV. This condition slowly weakens your immune system. Abacavir comes in a tablet form that you can take by mouth or with a glass of water as directed.
What is this medication?
ABACAVIR (a ba KA vir) is an antiretroviral medicine. It is used with other medicines to treat HIV. This medicine is not a cure for HIV. This medicine can lower, but not fully prevent, the risk of spreading HIV to others.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Ziagen
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
drink alcohol-containing drinks
an unusual or allergic reaction to abacavir, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. You may take this medicine with or without food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. For your anti-HIV therapy to work as well as possible, take each dose exactly as prescribed. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine even if you feel better. Skipping doses may make the HIV virus resistant to this medicine and other medicines. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. Then take your next dose at the usual scheduled time. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
This medicine may interact with the following medications:
alcohol or alcohol containing products
any other medicine that contains abacavir
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your doctor or healthcare provider for regular check ups. Discuss any new symptoms with your doctor. You will need to have important blood work done while on this medicine.
HIV is spread to others through sexual or blood contact. Talk to your doctor about how to stop the spread of HIV.
A small number of people may have a severe allergy to this medicine. Some symptoms are a skin rash, fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, severe tiredness, aches, or generally feeling sick. A list of these symptoms is on the Warning Card given to you by your pharmacist. You should carry this Warning Card with you. If you have these symptoms while taking this medicine, stop the medicine and call your doctor right away.
This medicine may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medicine. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. Or, you might notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
If you stop this medicine because you ran out of medicine or because you may have had an allergic reaction, talk to your doctor. Do not restart this medicine without your doctor's advice. Severe hypersensitivity reactions can occur within hours and may include life-threatening hypotension and death.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
fast, irregular heartbeat
muscle pain or weakness
nausea, vomiting, unusual upset stomach or stomach pain
redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
signs and symptoms of liver injury like dark yellow or brown urine; general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms; light-colored stools; loss of appetite; right upper belly pain; unusually weak or tired; yellowing of the eyes or skin
signs of infection like fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or trouble passing urine
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.