Compare Emtriva vs. Ziagen

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Emtriva
(Emtricitabine)

Ziagen
(Abacavir)

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. emtricitabine is currently one of the most popular drugs within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class.Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. If you don't have an allergic reaction to the drug and have good liver function, then this drug is a decent option within within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class.
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Reviews & ratings
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Side effects
EmtrivaZiagen

We haven’t found good data for Emtriva side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Emtriva »

We haven’t found good data for Ziagen side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Ziagen »
How it works
EmtrivaZiagen
emtricitabine stops the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) within important cells of the body by preventing the virus from taking over normal functions of the cell for its own purposes.abacavir stops the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) within important cells of the body by preventing the virus from taking over normal functions of the cell for its own purposes.
Type of medication
EmtrivaZiagen
Coming soon.
Coming soon.Prescription only
Available as
EmtrivaZiagen
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
EmtrivaZiagen
  • HIV infection
  • HIV infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
EmtrivaZiagen
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV therapy
    • HIV treatment
    Detailed Emtriva (Emtricitabine) risks & warnings »
    • Prior severe allergic reaction to abacavir
    • Women
    • Obesity
    • Liver disease
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV therapy
    • HIV treatment
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    Detailed Ziagen (Abacavir) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    EmtrivaZiagen
    BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

    Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

    See the FDA package insert
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    • Take with or without food once a day.
    No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    • emtricitabine is removed from the body by the kidneys, so the dose of emtricitabine needs to be lowered if you have any kidney problems.
    • emtricitabine can cause this rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. Baseline blood work for kidney and liver function are helpful to see if you can use emtricitabine. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
    • abacavir can cause this rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. Baseline blood work for kidney and liver function are helpful to see if you can use abacavir. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    No specific sleep-related info.
    • To best deal with stomach upset and other side effects, either take abacavir twice a day for lower effects throughout the day, or once a day at night to sleep through the bulk of effects.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    EmtrivaZiagen
    • Take with or without food once a day.
    • emtricitabine can be taken as a capsule or liquid.
    • The emtricitabine oral solution can be stored for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
    • emtricitabine is contained in the following combination products: Atripla, Complera, Stribild, and Truvada.
    • Can take one tablet twice a day, or two tablets once a day.
    • abacavir is in a number of other combination meds, so you may be able to find a single drug that has abacavir and other HIV medicines you are taking in a single product.
    • Can be used for kids 3 months and older.
    Downsides and risks
    EmtrivaZiagen
    • Can't be taken with any drugs containing lamivudine since both are so similar to each other.
    • emtricitabine is removed from the body by the kidneys, so the dose of emtricitabine needs to be lowered if you have any kidney problems.
    • Kids have a higher chance than adults of skin color changes on their hands and feet while taking emtricitabine.
    • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.
    • Severe allergic reactions to abacavir are possible. Genetic testing may help identify if you are likely to react poorly to abacavir.
    • Once someone has an allergic reaction to abacavir, they can't take any other medications containing abacavir in the future.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    EmtrivaZiagen
    • Since emtricitabine is only taken once a day, take it at the same time as your other HIV medications.
    • If being used for kids, the dose of emtricitabine will continue to change as they grow, so keep in touch with their doctor.
    • Keep an eye out for any new symptoms or side effects you may start to feel while taking emtricitabine and report them to your doctor.
    • To best deal with stomach upset and other side effects, either take abacavir twice a day for lower effects throughout the day, or once a day at night to sleep through the bulk of effects.
    • Work with your healthcare provider to get regular blood tests. The goal is to make sure the drug is working well and safely.
    • If being used for kids, the dose of abacavir will continue to change as they grow, so keep in touch with their doctor.
    Learn more
    More about EmtrivaSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about ZiagenSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert