Generic Name: abacavir and lamivudine (a BAK a veer and la MIV yoo deen)Brand Names: Epzicom
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 other 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 have developed a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking this medicine. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms of lactic acidosis, such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, slow 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 have developed a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking this medicine. You may be more likely to develop lactic acidosis if you are overweight or have liver disease, or if you have taken certain HIV or AIDS medications for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:
heart disease or high blood pressure; or
a risk factor for heart disease such as smoking, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
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.
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 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.
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 at regular visits for several months after you stop using abacavir and lamivudine. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
See also: Abacavir and lamivudine dosage in more detail
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 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.
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.
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, slow 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
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.
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 hoursDuration: 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.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:
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 there may be other drugs that can interact with abacavir and lamivudine. 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.