abacavir and lamivudine



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Generic Name: abacavir and lamivudine (a BAK a veer and la MIV yoo deen)
Brand Names: Epzicom

What is abacavir and lamivudine?

Abacavir and lamivudine is an antiviral medication. It is in a group of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medicines called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Abacavir and lamivudine helps keep the HIV virus from reproducing in the body.

Abacavir and lamivudine is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Abacavir and lamivudine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Abacavir and lamivudine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about abacavir and lamivudine? Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: fever; rash; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain; general tiredness, body aches; shortness of breath, cough, sore throat. Once you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir and lamivudine, you must never use it again.

Before taking abacavir and lamivudine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, or a risk factor for heart disease such as smoking, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

You may need a blood test before you start taking abacavir and lamivudine for the first time, or if you are restarting the medication after stopping for reasons not related to an allergic reaction.

Read the Warning Card that comes with this medication, and carry it with you at all times so you will know the symptoms of allergic reaction to watch for.

Some people develop lactic acidosis while taking abacavir and lamivudine. Early symptoms may get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. 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. Do not allow this medicine to run out completely before you get your prescription refilled. If you miss several doses, you could have a dangerous or even fatal allergic reaction when you start taking the medicine again. If you stop taking abacavir and lamivudine for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication again. What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking abacavir and lamivudine? You should not take abacavir and lamivudine if you have liver disease. Do not take this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to abacavir. Tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to any medicine that contains abacavir, such as Trizivir or Ziagen. Once you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir and lamivudine, you must never use it again.

You may need a blood test before you start taking abacavir and lamivudine for the first time, or if you are restarting the medication after stopping for reasons not related to an allergic reaction.

Some people develop a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking abacavir and lamivudine. You may be more likely to develop lactic acidosis if you are overweight or have liver disease, if you are a woman, or if you have taken HIV or AIDS medications for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.

To make sure you can safely take abacavir and lamivudine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

kidney disease;

heart disease or high blood pressure; or

a risk factor for heart disease such as smoking, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether abacavir and lamivudine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk. This medication should not be given to children under 18 years old. How should I take abacavir and lamivudine?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

You may take abacavir and lamivudine with or without food.

This medicine comes with a Medication Guide and a Warning Card that lists the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Read this information carefully and carry the Warning Card with you at all times so you will know what symptoms to watch for.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using abacavir and lamivudine. Visit your doctor regularly.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

See also: Abacavir and lamivudine dosage (in more detail)

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.

Do not allow this medicine to run out completely before you get your prescription refilled. It is important that you not stop taking the medicine once you have started. If you miss several doses, you may have a dangerous or even fatal allergic reaction once you start taking abacavir again. If you stop taking abacavir and lamivudine for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication again. 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 abacavir and lamivudine? Avoid taking other medications that contain abacavir or lamivudine, such as Combivir, Epivir, Trizivir, or Ziagen. Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person. Abacavir and lamivudine side effects Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to abacavir:

Group 1 - fever;

Group 2 - rash;

Group 3 - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;

Group 4 - general tiredness, body aches;

Group 5 - shortness of breath, cough, sore throat.

Once you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir, you must never use it again. If you stop taking abacavir and lamivudine for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication again. Other serious side effects that may not be signs of an allergic reaction include:

stomach pain, low fever, lost appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

lactic acidosis - 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;

fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or

white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.

Less serious side effects include:

changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk);

sleep problems or strange dreams;

headache, depression, anxiety; or

mild diarrhea.

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.

Abacavir and lamivudine Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for HIV Infection:

1 tablet orally once every 24 hours

Usual Adult Dose for Nonoccupational Exposure:

1 tablet orally once every 24 hours
Duration: Prophylaxis should be initiated as soon as possible, within 72 hours of exposure, and continued for 28 days.
In general, the alternative regimens recommended for nonoccupational postexposure HIV prophylaxis include abacavir-lamivudine as part of nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based, protease inhibitor (PI)-based, or triple nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) regimens.

What other drugs will affect abacavir and lamivudine?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

methadone (Methadose, Dolophine);

ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetron, Virazole);

interferon (Rebetron, Roferon, Intron, Alferon, Infergen, Avonex, Rebif, Betaseron, Actimune); or

other medications that contain abacavir or lamivudine (Combivir, Epivir, Trizivir, Ziagen).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with abacavir and lamivudine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

More abacavir and lamivudine resources Abacavir and lamivudine Side Effects (in more detail) Abacavir and lamivudine Dosage Abacavir and lamivudine Use in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Abacavir and lamivudine Drug Interactions Abacavir and lamivudine Support Group 1 Review for Abacavir and lamivudine - Add your own review/rating Compare abacavir and lamivudine with other medications HIV Infection Nonoccupational Exposure Where can I get more information? Your pharmacist can provide more information about abacavir and lamivudine.

See also: abacavir and lamivudine side effects (in more detail)







abacavir and lamivudine

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