Generic Name: Abacavir Tablets (a BAK a vir)
Brand Name: Ziagen
Medically reviewed on Sep 5, 2018
- Unsafe and sometimes deadly allergic effects with organ failure may happen with Ziagen (abacavir tablets). 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 Ziagen (abacavir tablets) 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 Ziagen (abacavir tablets) if you have the HLA-B*5701 gene. Your doctor will check you for this gene before you start Ziagen (abacavir tablets). Talk with your doctor.
Uses of Ziagen:
- It is used to treat HIV infection.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Ziagen?
- If you have an allergy to abacavir or any other part of Ziagen (abacavir tablets).
- 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 liver disease.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take Ziagen (abacavir tablets).
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Ziagen (abacavir tablets).
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 Ziagen (abacavir tablets) 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 Ziagen?
For all patients taking Ziagen (abacavir tablets):
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Ziagen (abacavir tablets). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- 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.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the 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.
- If Ziagen (abacavir tablets) is stopped because you have an allergy to it, do not restart it. It may not be safe to restart Ziagen (abacavir tablets). Throw away any of Ziagen (abacavir tablets) that you have not taken. If you are not sure how to throw away unused drugs, check with your pharmacist.
- If Ziagen (abacavir tablets) 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 Ziagen (abacavir tablets).
- Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol or take products that have alcohol in them.
- 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.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using Ziagen (abacavir tablets) while you are pregnant.
- If giving to your child, the dose of Ziagen (abacavir tablets) may need to be changed as your child's weight changes. Have your child's weight checked often. Talk with the doctor before changing your child's dose.
How is this medicine (Ziagen) best taken?
Use Ziagen (abacavir tablets) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take Ziagen (abacavir tablets) at the same time of day.
- Take with or without food.
- Keep taking Ziagen (abacavir tablets) 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 Ziagen (abacavir tablets) 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.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
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 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 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 kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Low mood (depression).
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- Mouth sores.
- Muscle pain or weakness.
- Swollen gland.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- 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 Ziagen (abacavir tablets). Tell your doctor right away if you have any new signs after you start Ziagen (abacavir tablets), 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 Ziagen?
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:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Not able to sleep.
- Bad dreams.
- Feeling tired or weak.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
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 Ziagen?
- 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 Ziagen (abacavir tablets) is refilled. If you have any questions about Ziagen (abacavir tablets), 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about Ziagen (abacavir)
- Ziagen Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- Generic Availability
- Drug class: nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)