Skip to Content

Epzicom

Generic Name: abacavir and lamivudine (a BAK a veer and la MIV yoo deen)
Brand Names: Epzicom

Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018

What is Epzicom?

Epzicom contains a combination of abacavir and lamivudine. Abacavir and lamivudine are antiviral medicines that prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body.

Epzicom is used to treat HIV, which can cause the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Epzicom is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Important Information

Epzicom can cause severe or fatal side effects. Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

You should not take Epzicom if you have liver disease, or if you have ever tested positive for a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Do not take this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine that contains abacavir or lamivudine.

Stop taking Epzicom and call your doctor at once if you have signs of an allergic reaction: fever; rash; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain; general ill feeling, extreme tiredness, body aches; shortness of breath, cough, sore throat.

If you've ever had hepatitis B, it may become active or get worse after you stop using Epzicom. You may need frequent liver function tests for several months.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Epzicom if you are allergic to abacavir or lamivudine, or:

  • if you have liver disease;

  • if you have ever tested positive for a gene variation called HLA-B*5701; or

  • if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine that contains abacavir or lamivudine (Combivir, Epivir, Triumeq, Trizivir, Ziagen).

Once you have had an allergic reaction to Epzicom, you must never use it again.

You may develop lactic acidosis, a dangerous build-up of lactic acid in your blood. This may be more likely if you have other medical conditions, if you've taken HIV medication for a long time, or if you are a woman. Ask your doctor about your risk.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • hepatitis C (especially if you are treated with interferon and/or ribavirin);

  • hepatitis B or other liver problems;

  • kidney disease;

  • heart problems or a heart attack;

  • a risk factor for heart disease (such as smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol); or

  • if you drink alcohol daily.

You may need a blood test before you start taking Epzicom for the first time, or if you are restarting the medicine after stopping for reasons not related to an allergic reaction.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, and use your medications properly to control your infection. HIV can be passed to your baby if the virus is not controlled during pregnancy. Your name may be listed on a registry to track any effects of antiviral medicine on the baby.

Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.

Epzicom should not be given to a child who weighs less than 55 pounds.

How should I take Epzicom?

Take Epzicom exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Epzicom may be taken with or without food. Tell the doctor if a child taking this medicine has trouble swallowing the tablet.

Epzicom comes with a Medication Guide and a Warning Card listing symptoms of an allergic reaction. Read this information and learn what symptoms to watch for. Keep the Wallet Card with you at all times.

Use all HIV medications as directed and read all medication guides you receive. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV should remain under the care of a doctor.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

If you've ever had hepatitis B, this virus may become active or get worse in the months after you stop using Epzicom. You may need frequent liver function tests while using this medicine and for several months after your last dose.

Epzicom dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for HIV Infection:

1 tablet orally once a day

Use: In combination with other antiretroviral agents, for the treatment of HIV-1 infection

Usual Adult Dose for Nonoccupational Exposure:

US CDC recommendations: 1 tablet orally once a day
Duration of therapy: 28 days

Comments:
-Recommended as part of alternative regimens (NNRTI-based, protease inhibitor-based, or triple NRTI) for nonoccupational postexposure prophylaxis of HIV infection
-Prophylaxis should be started as soon as possible, within 72 hours of exposure.
-Current guidelines should be consulted for additional information.

Usual Adult Dose for Occupational Exposure:

US Public Health Service working group recommendations: 1 tablet orally once a day
Duration of therapy: 28 days, if tolerated

Comments:
-Only with expert consultation, as part of an alternative regimen for use as HIV postexposure prophylaxis
-Prophylaxis should be started as soon as possible, preferably within hours after exposure.
-The optimal duration of prophylaxis is unknown and may differ based on institution protocol.
-Current guidelines should be consulted for additional information.

Usual Pediatric Dose for HIV Infection:

At least 25 kg: 1 tablet orally once a day

Comments:
-Use of the individual components is recommended for patients less than 25 kg; the manufacturer product information for Epzicom should be consulted.
-Before prescribing this drug, the ability to swallow tablets should be assessed.

Use: In combination with other antiretroviral agents, for the treatment of HIV-1 infection

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. If you miss several doses, you may have a dangerous or even fatal allergic reaction once you start taking this medication again.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Epzicom?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage or lactic acidosis.

See also: Epzicom and alcohol (in more detail)

Taking this medicine will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Epzicom side effects

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction from two or more of these specific side effect groups:

  • Group 1 - fever;

  • Group 2 - rash;

  • Group 3 - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;

  • Group 4 - general ill feeling, extreme tiredness, body aches;

  • Group 5 - shortness of breath, cough, sore throat.

Once you have an allergic reaction to Epzicom, you must never use it again. If you stop taking this medicine for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking it again.

Epzicom can also cause serious or fatal side effects on the liver. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • swelling around your midsection, right-sided upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Mild symptoms of lactic acidosis may worsen over time, and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have: unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain, vomiting, irregular heart rate, dizziness, feeling cold, or feeling very weak or tired.

Epzicom affects your immune system, which may cause certain side effects (even weeks or months after you've taken this medicine). Tell your doctor if you have:

  • signs of a new infection - fever, night sweats, swollen glands, cold sores, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, weight loss;

  • trouble speaking or swallowing, problems with balance or eye movement, weakness or prickly feeling; or

  • swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence.

Common Epzicom ide effects include:

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • headache, dizziness, tiredness, depression;

  • fever, rash;

  • nausea, diarrhea; or

  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Epzicom?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

  • hepatitis medication such as interferon or ribavirin;

  • methadone; or

  • any other HIV medicines.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with abacavir and lamivudine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Epzicom only for the indication prescribed.

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

Hide