Chemical Name: ABACAVIR (a-BAK-a-veer)
This medicine is a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) used along with other medicines to manage human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
WARNING: This drug can cause severe, even fatal, allergic reactions, liver problems, and blood acid-base balance (lactic acidosis) problems. If you develop symptoms such as rash, fever, fatigue, difficult or rapid breathing, cough, throat inflammation, dark urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes, drowsiness, muscle aches, stomach/abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea immediately stop using this medicine and notify your doctor. Do not restart this medicine if an allergic reaction to this drug has occurred because more severe, life-threatening problems could occur (including low blood pressure and death). Also, if an allergic reaction is only suspected, this medicine should never be restarted. (See CAUTIONS regarding stopping and starting this medicine.) It is not known how long this drug will benefit those with HIV infection. INFORM YOUR DOCTOR OR PHARMACIST of all prescription and over-the-counter medicine that you are taking. Inform your doctor of any other medical conditions, allergies, pregnancy, or breast-feeding.
Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. THIS MEDICINE COMES WITH A PATIENT MEDICATION GUIDE and warning card. Read them carefully. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist any questions that you may have about this medicine. Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure this dose. This medicine may be taken on an empty stomach or with food. STORE THIS MEDICINE at room temperature between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C) in a tightly-closed container, away from heat and light. This medicine may be stored in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. CONTINUE TO USE THIS MEDICINE even if you feel well. If you are having trouble taking this medicine on schedule or if you are having side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to minimize these problems. IF YOU MISS A DOSE OF THIS MEDICINE, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately (see Cautions section for more details).
DO NOT EXCEED THE RECOMMENDED DOSE without checking with your doctor. Exceeding the recommended dose of this medicine may not provide additional benefits, and may increase the risks of side effects. KEEP ALL DOCTOR AND LABORATORY APPOINTMENTS while you are using this medicine. DO NOT STOP USING THIS MEDICINE without first checking with your doctor. IF YOU EXPERIENCE skin rash, fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, cough, trouble breathing, throat inflammation, diarrhea, or stomach pain, seek immediate medical attention. Do not take any more doses of this medicine unless your doctor tells you to do so. IF YOUR DOCTOR SAYS YOU HAVE HAD A HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION TO THIS MEDICINE, never take this medicine again. If you stop using this medicine even for a short time and then restart the medicine, you have an increased chance of developing the very serious, potentially fatal, allergic reaction. THIS MEDICINE WILL NOT PREVENT YOU FROM SPREADING HIV through sexual contact. If you have any questions concerning how to prevent the spreading of HIV, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. THIS MEDICINE MAY NOT PREVENT OTHER INFECTIONS. If your health changes, check with your doctor. BEFORE YOU BEGIN TAKING ANY NEW MEDICINE, either prescription or over-the-counter, check with your doctor or pharmacist. The use of abacavir, lamivudine, and tenofovir in combination may not be effective in treating HIV infection. If you are currently taking all three of these medicines, contact your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible to carefully review your medicines. IF YOU PLAN ON BECOMING PREGNANT, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy. IT IS UNKNOWN IF THIS DRUG IS EXCRETED in breast milk. DO NOT BREAST-FEED while taking this medicine.
Possible side effects
SIDE EFFECTS that may occur while taking this medicine include headache, trouble sleeping, or loss of appetite. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you experience severe muscle pain or cramping, unusual weakness, or exhaustion. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if you experience a rash, fever, nausea, vomiting, cough, trouble breathing, sore throat, diarrhea, flu-like illness, stomach or chest pain, severe dizziness, or fainting. Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medicine (e.g., increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs). The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss the risks and benefits of therapy with your doctor, as well as the possible role of exercise to reduce this side effect. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
If you take too much
If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.
Always carry the warning card that describes the symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction to this medicine. DO NOT SHARE THIS MEDICINE with others for whom it was not prescribed. DO NOT USE THIS MEDICINE for other health conditions. KEEP THIS PRODUCT out of the reach of children. IF USING THIS MEDICINE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, obtain refills before your supply runs out.