What is abacavir?
Abacavir is an antiviral medicine that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body. Abacavir is used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). abacavir is for adults and children who are at least 3 months old. Abacavir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. Abacavir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
How should I take abacavir?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed. Abacavir comes with a Medication Guide and a Warning Card listing symptoms of an allergic reaction. Read this information and learn what symptoms to watch for. Keep the Wallet Card with you at all times. Abacavir doses are based on weight in children and/or teenagers. Your child's dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight. Abacavir can be taken with or without food. Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon). You will need frequent medical tests.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. If you miss several doses, you may have a dangerous or even fatal allergic reaction once you start taking abacavir again.
How should I store Abacavir?
Store 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 other drugs will affect Abacavir?
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
- methadone; or
- any other HIV medicines.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect Abacavir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
What should I avoid while taking Abacavir?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage. Taking Abacavir will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share 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.
What are side effects of Abacavir?
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 ill feeling, extreme 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:
- severe upper stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
- swelling around your midsection;
- dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- unusual tiredness; or
- chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder.
Mild symptoms of lactic acidosis may worsen over time, and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have: unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain, vomiting, irregular heart rate, dizziness, feeling cold, or feeling very weak or tired. Abacavir affects your immune system, which may cause certain side effects (even weeks or months after you've taken this medicine).
Tell your doctor if you have:
- signs of a new infection--fever, night sweats, swollen glands, cold sores, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, weight loss;
- trouble speaking or swallowing, problems with balance or eye movement, weakness or prickly feeling; or
- swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence.
Common side effects of abacavir may include: feeling tired;
- sleep problems, strange dreams;
- headache, tiredness, fever, chills, general ill feeling;
- nausea or vomiting;
- rash; or
- (in children) stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, ear pain.
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.