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Abacavir and Lamivudine

Generic Name: Abacavir and Lamivudine (a BAK a veer & la MI vyoo deen)
Brand Name: Epzicom

Medically reviewed on Sep 5, 2018

Warning

  • Unsafe and sometimes deadly allergic effects with organ failure may happen with abacavir and lamivudine. Tell your doctor about any fever, rash, feeling tired, upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools, belly pain, flu-like signs, sore throat, cough, or trouble breathing. Do not restart abacavir and lamivudine if you have had an allergic reaction.
  • The chance of allergic effects is raised in people who have a certain gene called HLA-B*5701. Do not take abacavir and lamivudine if you have the HLA-B*5701 gene. Your doctor will check you for this gene before you start abacavir and lamivudine. Talk with your doctor.
  • Read the warning card and carry it with you at all times. It tells the signs to watch for in case an allergy happens.
  • Hepatitis B has gotten worse when abacavir and lamivudine was stopped in some people with hepatitis B. Close follow-up for a few months is needed when therapy is stopped in people who have hepatitis B. Do not stop taking abacavir and lamivudine without calling your doctor. Talk with your doctor.

Uses of Abacavir and Lamivudine:

See also: Atripla

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Abacavir and Lamivudine?

For all patients taking abacavir and lamivudine:

  • If you have an allergy to abacavir, lamivudine, or any other part of abacavir and lamivudine.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have any of these health problems: Kidney disease or liver disease.
  • If you are taking a drug that has sorbitol in it.
  • If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take abacavir and lamivudine.

Children:

  • If your child weighs less than 55 pounds (25 kilograms).

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with abacavir and lamivudine.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take abacavir and lamivudine with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Abacavir and Lamivudine?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take abacavir and lamivudine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • A higher chance of heart attack was seen in people who took abacavir. It is not known if abacavir caused this effect. Talk with the doctor.
  • Use care if you have risks for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, high blood sugar or diabetes, cigarette smoking, man older than 40 years of age, other family members with early heart disease, woman after change of life). Talk with your doctor.
  • If abacavir and lamivudine is stopped because you have an allergy to it, do not restart it. It may not be safe to restart abacavir and lamivudine. Throw away any of abacavir and lamivudine that you have not taken. If you are not sure how to throw away unused drugs, check with your pharmacist.
  • If abacavir and lamivudine is stopped for any other reason, do not restart it without talking to the doctor. It could be very risky to restart on your own.
  • Do not run out of abacavir and lamivudine.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
  • This medicine is not a cure for HIV. Stay under the care of your doctor.
  • This medicine does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine may rarely cause swollen liver and an acid health problem in the blood. This may be deadly in some cases. The chance may be higher in women, in overweight people, and in people who have taken drugs like this one for a long time. Talk with your doctor.
  • If you have hepatitis C and HIV, talk with your doctor. Liver function has gotten worse in people who were taking abacavir and lamivudine and interferon alfa with or without ribavirin. Sometimes, this has been deadly.
  • A pancreas problem (pancreatitis) has happened in children taking lamivudine with or without other HIV drugs. Sometimes this has been deadly. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using abacavir and lamivudine while you are pregnant.

How is this medicine (Abacavir and Lamivudine) best taken?

Use abacavir and lamivudine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Take abacavir and lamivudine at the same time of day.
  • Take with or without food.
  • If you have trouble swallowing, talk with your doctor.
  • Keep taking abacavir and lamivudine as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
  • It is important that you do not miss or skip a dose of abacavir and lamivudine during treatment.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • If you are not sure what to do if you miss a dose, call your doctor.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Signs of too much lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis) like fast breathing, fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, very bad upset stomach or throwing up, feeling very sleepy, shortness of breath, feeling very tired or weak, very bad dizziness, feeling cold, or muscle pain or cramps.
  • Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Low mood (depression).
  • Mouth sores.
  • Muscle pain or weakness.
  • Joint pain.
  • Swollen gland.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Swelling.
  • Changes in your immune system can happen when you start taking drugs to treat HIV. If you have an infection that you did not know you had, it may show up when you take abacavir and lamivudine. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new signs after you start abacavir and lamivudine, even after taking it for several months. This includes signs of infection like fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, or shortness of breath.

What are some other side effects of Abacavir and Lamivudine?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Abacavir and Lamivudine?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Consumer information use

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time abacavir and lamivudine is refilled. If you have any questions about abacavir and lamivudine, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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