Abacavir/Lamivudine

Generic Name: Abacavir/Lamivudine (a-BAK-a-vir/la-MIV-ue-deen)Brand Name: Epzicom

Severe allergic reactions (achiness, cough, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, fever, nausea, rash, sore throat, stomach pain, tiredness, vomiting) have been associated with the use of abacavir. Stop using Abacavir/Lamivudine if any of these symptoms occur and talk with your health care provider. Do not restart Abacavir/Lamivudine if symptoms of a severe allergic reaction occur. Severe allergic reactions, including death, have occurred in patients who restart Abacavir/Lamivudine , even if they have no history or unrecognized symptoms of an allergic reaction. Do not stop and restart Abacavir/Lamivudine unless directed to do so by your doctor.

Patients who have a certain gene type called HLA-B*5701 have an increased risk of an allergic reaction to abacavir. A lab test may be performed before you start Abacavir/Lamivudine to see if you have this gene type. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.

High levels of lactic acid in the blood and severe liver problems that can cause death have also been associated with the use of Abacavir/Lamivudine . Tell your doctor immediately if you have dark urine, fever, persistent sore throat, rapid breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellowing of the eyes and skin. Severe worsening of hepatitis B has been reported in patients who are infected with both HIV and hepatitis B and have discontinued lamivudine. Liver function should be monitored closely for at least several months after discontinuing lamivudine. The long-term effects of Abacavir/Lamivudine are not known at this time.

Abacavir/Lamivudine is used for:

Treating HIV infection. Abacavir/Lamivudine is used in combination with other medicines.

Abacavir/Lamivudine is a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) combination. It works by blocking HIV from reproducing.

Do NOT use Abacavir/Lamivudine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Abacavir/Lamivudine
  • you have liver problems, an enlarged liver, abnormal liver function tests, severe kidney problems, or the blood disorder lactic acidosis
  • you are taking another medicine that contains abacavir or lamivudine
  • you are taking zalcitabine

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Abacavir/Lamivudine :

Some medical conditions may interact with Abacavir/Lamivudine . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of kidney problems, heart problems (eg, heart attack), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, pancreatitis, smoking, alcohol dependence, hepatitis B infection, nerve disorders, or obesity problems
  • if you have a history of high levels of lactic acid in the blood or are at risk for liver problems
  • if you are taking any other medicine for HIV infection
  • if you have been tested and know whether or not you have a gene type called HLA-B*5701

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Abacavir/Lamivudine . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Interferon alpha or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ) because they may increase the risk of Abacavir/Lamivudine 's side effects
  • Ribavirin or zalcitabine because the effectiveness of both medicines may be decreased
  • Methadone because its effectiveness may be decreased by Abacavir/Lamivudine
  • Other medicines that contain abacavir or lamivudine because the risk of side effects may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Abacavir/Lamivudine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Abacavir/Lamivudine :

Use Abacavir/Lamivudine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Abacavir/Lamivudine comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get Abacavir/Lamivudine refilled.
  • Take Abacavir/Lamivudine by mouth with or without food.
  • Taking Abacavir/Lamivudine at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
  • Continue to use Abacavir/Lamivudine even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses. Failure to do so may decrease the effectiveness of Abacavir/Lamivudine and increase the risk that your HIV will no longer be sensitive to Abacavir/Lamivudine or to other similar medicines.
  • If you miss a dose of Abacavir/Lamivudine , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Abacavir/Lamivudine .

Important safety information:

  • Abacavir/Lamivudine may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Abacavir/Lamivudine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Drinking alcohol while taking Abacavir/Lamivudine may cause an increased risk of side effects. Talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol while you are taking Abacavir/Lamivudine .
  • Abacavir/Lamivudine is not a cure for HIV infection. Patients may still get illnesses and infections associated with HIV. Remain under the care of your doctor.
  • When your medicine supply is low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can. Do not stop taking Abacavir/Lamivudine , even for a short period of time. If you do, the virus may grow resistant to the medicine and become harder to treat.
  • If you stop taking Abacavir/Lamivudine even for a few days (eg, if you run out of your medicine and do not get it refilled right away), contact your doctor before you start taking it again. You may experience a serious allergic reaction if you stop taking Abacavir/Lamivudine and then start again.
  • Abacavir/Lamivudine does not stop the spread of HIV to others through blood or sexual contact. Use barrier methods of birth control (eg, condoms) if you have HIV infection. Do not share needles, injection supplies, or items like toothbrushes or razors.
  • Abacavir/Lamivudine contains abacavir and lamivudine. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has abacavir or lamivudine in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Carry an ID card at all times that says you take Abacavir/Lamivudine .
  • Abacavir/Lamivudine may improve immune system function. This may reveal hidden infections in some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of infection (eg, fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, shortness of breath) after you start Abacavir/Lamivudine .
  • Changes in body fat (eg, an increased amount of fat in the upper back, neck, breast, and trunk, and loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face) may occur in some patients taking Abacavir/Lamivudine . The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.
  • Diabetes patients - Abacavir/Lamivudine may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Patients who have a certain gene type called HLA-B*5701 have an increased risk of a severe or even fatal allergic reaction to Abacavir/Lamivudine . A lab test may be performed before you start Abacavir/Lamivudine to see if you have this gene type. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts and liver function tests, may be performed while you use Abacavir/Lamivudine . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Abacavir/Lamivudine should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 18 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Abacavir/Lamivudine while you are pregnant. Abacavir/Lamivudine is found in breast milk. Do not breast feed while taking Abacavir/Lamivudine . Mothers infected with HIV should not breast-feed. There is a risk of passing the HIV infection or Abacavir/Lamivudine to the baby.

Possible side effects of Abacavir/Lamivudine :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Abnormal dreams; anxiety; dizziness; headache; sleeplessness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (fever; rash; tiredness; achiness; nausea; diarrhea; vomiting; stomach pain; sore throat; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; cough; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain or discomfort, numbness of an arm or leg, shortness of breath, or sudden vision changes; dark urine; decreased urination; depression; exhaustion; fainting; flu-like illness; mouth ulcers; muscle pain or weakness; numbness, tingling, or pain in hands and feet; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe dizziness; severe muscle, stomach, or chest pain or cramping; swelling; unusual or persistent tiredness; unusual weakness; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Abacavir/Lamivudine :

Store Abacavir/Lamivudine at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Abacavir/Lamivudine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Abacavir/Lamivudine , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Abacavir/Lamivudine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Abacavir/Lamivudine . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.