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Abacavir

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WARNING

An allergic reaction to abacavir could be severe or even fatal. If you experience any symptoms from two or more of the following groups, call your doctor right away to discuss whether you should stop taking abacavir:

  • Group 1: fever
  • Group 2: rash
  • Group 3: abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, or nausea
  • Group 4: overall malaise, excessive exhaustion, or ache
  • Group 5: wheezing, coughing, or sore throat

When you purchase your prescription, the pharmacist will provide you with a Warning Card. The symptoms mentioned above are listed in the Warning Card. Keep the card on your person.

Based on their genetic makeup or ancestry, certain people may be more likely to experience an adverse reaction to abacavir. To find out if you are more prone to experience an adverse reaction to abacavir, your doctor will request a lab test.

If you have an allergy to abacavir or any other drugs that include abacavir, let your doctor and pharmacist know right away. If you have ever experienced an adverse response to abacavir or any other drug containing abacavir, do not take this medication.

Never take abacavir or a medication containing abacavir again if your doctor instructs you to stop using it because you experienced an allergic reaction. Abacavir should not be started again if you stopped taking it for any other reason, such as missing multiple doses in a row or running out of medication, without first consulting your doctor. When you restart this drug, you’ll need to be near individuals who can get emergency medical help or call for it if it’s necessary.

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To determine how well your body is responding to abacavir, your doctor will request specific lab tests.

When you start abacavir treatment and each time you refill your prescription, your doctor or pharmacist will give you a warning card and the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide). If you have any questions, carefully read the material and contact your doctor or pharmacist. The Medication Guide and Warning Card are also available on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website or the manufacturer’s website.

The dangers of using abacavir should be discussed with your doctor.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is treated with abacavir in combination with additional drugs. Abacavir belongs to the category of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). It functions by lowering the level of HIV in the blood. Although abacavir does not treat HIV, it may lessen your risk of getting AIDS and other diseases connected to HIV, such as serious infections or cancer. The danger of transferring the HIV virus to other people may be reduced by taking these medications, engaging in safer sexual behaviour, and altering other aspects of one’s lifestyle.

How should this medicine be used?

Abacavir is available as a liquid solution and tablet for oral use. With or without food, it is often taken once or twice day. Take abacavir every day at about the same time(s). Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Administer abacavir exactly as prescribed. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Although it does not treat HIV infection, abacavir aids in its management. Even if you feel well, keep taking abacavir. Without first consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking abacavir. Your disease can become more challenging to manage or you might experience an allergic response when restarting the medicine if you stop taking abacavir or skip doses (See Important Warning section). Avoid running out of medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more abacavir when you start to run low on it.

Other uses for this medicine

When a person has been exposed to HIV, abacavir is often used in conjunction with other antiviral drugs to prevent HIV infection. Discuss the potential dangers of using this medicine for your illness with your doctor.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking abacavir,

  • If you have any allergies to medicines or any of the substances in abacavir tablets or solution, let your doctor and pharmacist know right away. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your physician and pharmacist about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Mention the following: additional HIV drugs, including methadone (Dolophine, Methadose). Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have had had depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver, or heart disease in addition to the condition indicated in the IMPORTANT WARNING section.
  • If you are breastfeeding a child or intend to become pregnant, let your doctor know. Call your doctor right away if you get pregnant while taking abacavir. If you have an HIV infection or are taking abacavir, you shouldn’t breastfeed.
  • The safe consumption of alcohol while taking this medicine should be discussed with your doctor.
  • If you smoke, let your doctor know.
  • You should be aware that when you are taking HIV medications, your immune system can strengthen and begin to fight off other diseases that were previously present in your body, like pneumonia, the herpes simplex virus, tuberculosis, hepatitis, or a fungal infection. If you experience any new symptoms while taking abacavir for treatment, inform your doctor right once.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one. Call your physician before beginning to take abacavir if you have missed several doses.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Abacavir might have negative effects. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs or any of those in the IMPORTANT WARNING section:

  • Peeling or blistering skin
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Breathing or swallowing challenges
  • Excessive fatigue, weakness, faintness, erratic heartbeat, muscle discomfort, stomach ache accompanied by nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing; feeling cold, especially in the arms or legs, or experiencing flu-like symptoms like a fever, chills, or cough
  • Dark yellow or brown urine, light-colored stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes, appetite loss, unusual bleeding or bruises, or upper right stomach pain

Other negative effects of abacavir are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom). Liquid medications should be kept in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Avoid freezing.

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning. http://www.upandaway.org

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p for additional information.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

Abacavir should always be on hand. Do not put off getting a refill on your prescription until you are out of medicine.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Ziagen®
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