abacavir

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Ziagen, |abacavir

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abacavir

Generic Name: abacavir (a BAK a veer)
Brand Names: Ziagen

What is abacavir?

Abacavir is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

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

Abacavir may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about abacavir?

Stop using abacavir 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, you must never use it again.

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.

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 abacavir again. If you stop taking abacavir for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication again. Abacavir may cause lactic acidosis (the build up of lactic acid in the body). Lactic acidosis can start slowly and gradually get worse. Symptoms include unusual muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing, fast or uneven heart rate, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and numbness or cold feeling in your arms or legs. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Abacavir can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on the liver . Call your doctor at once if you have any of these liver symptoms while taking abacavir: nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking abacavir?

Do not take abacavir if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it, or to any medicine that contains abacavir, such as Epzicom or Trizivir. Once you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir, you must never use it again. Abacavir may cause lactic acidosis (the build up of lactic acid in the body). Lactic acidosis can start slowly and gradually get worse. Symptoms include unusual muscle pain and weakness, trouble breathing, fast or uneven heart rate, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and numbness or cold feeling in your arms or legs. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms, even if they are only mild. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Abacavir can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on the liver. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these liver symptoms while taking abacavir: nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Do not use abacavir if you have moderate or severe liver disease, or if you are also taking any other medication that contains abacavir, such as Epzicom, or Trizivir.

Before taking abacavir, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • liver disease; or
  • if you have used a medicine similar to abacavir in the past, such as didanosine (Videx), lamivudine (Combivir, Epzicom, Trizivir), stavudine (Zerit), tenofovir (Viread), zalcitabine (Hivid), or zidovudine (Retrovir).

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use abacavir, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. HIV can be passed to the baby if the mother is not properly treated during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection while you are pregnant.

Your name may need to be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry when you start using abacavir. The purpose of this registry is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and delivery to evaluate whether abacavir had any effect on the baby.

You should not breast-feed while you are using abacavir. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed at all. Even if your baby is born without HIV, you may still pass the virus to the baby in your breast milk.

How should I take abacavir?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the instructions on your prescription label.

This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Abacavir can be taken with or without food.

Measure the liquid form of abacavir with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.

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.

It is important to take abacavir regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescriptions refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store abacavir at room temperature away from moisture and heat. You may store the oral solution (liquid) in the refrigerator but do not let it freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. 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 abacavir once you have started. If you miss several abacavir doses, you may have a dangerous or even fatal allergic reaction once you start taking abacavir again. If you stop taking abacavir for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication again.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. The symptoms of an abacavir overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while taking abacavir?

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking abacavir. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage.

Taking abacavir will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people through unprotected sex or sharing of needles. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex, such as using a condom and spermicide. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Abacavir side effects

Stop using abacavir and call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction from two or more of these specific side effect groups:
  • 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 for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication again.

Abacavir can cause other serious side effects that may not be signs of an allergic reaction. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • lactic acidosis -- muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, nausea with vomiting, and fast or uneven heart rate;

  • liver damage -- nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • severe skin symptoms -- fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;

  • pancreatitis -- severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;

  • wheezing, trouble breathing, feeling light-headed, fainting;

  • vision changes or increased sensitivity to light;

  • urinating less than usual or not at all;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or

  • any other signs of new infection.

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • sleep problems or strange dreams;

  • headache, mood changes; or

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

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect abacavir?

Before taking abacavir, tell your doctor if you are using methadone (Methadose, Dolophine). You may need dosage adjustments during treatment.

There may be other drugs that can affect abacavir. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about abacavir written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Abacavir is available with a prescription under the brand name Ziagen. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Ziagen 300 mg-yellow, capsule-shaped, film-coated tablets

  • Ziagen Oral Solution 20 mg per 1 mL--colorless to pale-yellow, strawberry-banana flavored syrup

  • 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.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ("Multum") is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum"s drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum"s drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.08. Revision Date: 04/19/2007 3:45:57 PM.




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