Abacavir (By mouth)

Introduction

Abacavir (a-BAK-a-vir)

Treats HIV infection.

Brand Name(s)

Ziagen

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist when your supply of this medicine is low. Do not allow yourself to run out of this medicine.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. You may store the oral liquid in the refrigerator, but do not freeze it.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Tell your doctor if you are also using other medicines that contain abacavir.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or if you have liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Also tell your doctor if you smoke or drink alcohol.
  • Do not breastfeed. You can spread HIV or AIDS to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Serious allergic reaction
    • Lactic acidosis
    • Liver problems
    • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health.
  • Do not stop using this medicine without checking with your doctor first. If you stop the medicine even briefly, the virus may become harder to treat.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to others. Always practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles or other items that may have blood or body fluids on them.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Chest pain that may spread, trouble breathing, nausea, unusual sweating, faintness
  • Dark urine or pale stools, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fast breathing, lightheadedness, dizziness, severe weakness, confusion
  • Fever, rash, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, joint or muscle aches, unusual tiredness or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, or waist

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 12/4/2015

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