Compare Viread vs. Ziagen

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

Viread (tenofovir)

Ziagen (abacavir)

Prescription only
Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Also treats Hepatitis B Virus.

Viread (tenofovir) is a first-line choice to be used in combination with other medications to treat HIV. Viread (tenofovir) is also a first-line choice in treating HBV.

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection.

Ziagen (abacavir) is a first-choice medication that is used with others to treat HIV. It's important that your doctor test you for allergic reactions to Ziagen (abacavir) before starting the medication.

  • Can be used with other medications to prevent HIV infection after an exposure.
  • Taken only once daily, with or without food.
  • There are newer formulations of Viread (tenofovir) available that are safer on your kidneys.
  • If tablets are hard for you to swallow, Viread (tenofovir) is available in a powder that's mixed with soft foods.
  • Ziagen (abacavir) is found in many other combination tablets.
  • Ziagen (abacavir) has few drug interactions.
  • People whose kidneys are not working as well can still take Ziagen (abacavir) without having to change its dose.
  • Kids 3 months and older can use Ziagen (abacavir).
  • Viread (tenofovir) can't be used on its own to treat HIV infection.
  • Not recommended for patients with kidney damage.
  • Can weaken your bones.
  • Might worsen hepatitis B infections if you suddenly stop taking it.
  • Ziagen (abacavir) can increase your risk of heart attack.
  • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.
  • Severe allergic reactions have happened in some patients taking Ziagen (abacavir). Your doctor will test you for any possible risk of reaction before starting Ziagen (abacavir).
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Powder
  • Pill
  • Liquid
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Side effects
1possible side effects
  • Nausea
See more detailed side effects
8possible side effects
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and discomfort
  • Dreams/sleep disorders
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Headaches/migraine
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Risks and warnings
  • Lactic acidosis | Enlarged, fatty liver

    Liver disease

    ...and 2 more risk factors

  • Cannot be used to treat Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

    Hepatitis B Virus infection

  • Mood and behavior changes

    History of mental illness

  • Decreased bone mineral density

    History of bone fractures

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Kidney damage

    History of kidney damage

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions

    Prior severe allergic reaction to Viread (tenofovir) or any of its individual drug components.

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Severe allergic reactions

    Positive genetic test (HLA B5701)

  • Lactic acidosis & severe liver damage


    ...and 2 more risk factors

  • Heart attack

    High blood pressure

    ...and 2 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings