Compare Viread vs. Ziagen

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

Viread
(tenofovir)

Ziagen
(abacavir)

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Also treats Hepatitis B Virus. tenofovir can be a good choice to take within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class. It may not be the best choice though for people with kidney problems.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.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Viread (tenofovir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Ziagen (abacavir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
VireadZiagen

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

FDA side effect reports for Viread »

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

FDA side effect reports for Ziagen »
How it works
VireadZiagen
tenofovir 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
VireadZiagen
Prescription only
Available as
VireadZiagen
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
VireadZiagen
  • HIV Infection
  • HIV Infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
VireadZiagen
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney damage
  • Prior bone fractures
Detailed Viread (tenofovir) risks & warnings »
  • Prior severe allergic reaction to abacavir
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • HIV
Detailed Ziagen (abacavir) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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

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.

Kidneys and liver
VireadZiagen
  • tenofovir 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 tenofovir. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
  • Severe worsening of Hepatitis B has been seen in patients who have stopped taking tenofovir. Liver function should be closely watched in people who have both HIV and HBV.
  • tenofovir is removed from the body by the kidney. Kidney (renal) damage, including cases of renal failure and Fanconi syndrome (injury to the tubes inside of the kidney), has been reported with the use of tenofovir. Your doctor must continually monitor the function of your kidneys while you are taking tenofovir.
  • Don't take other drugs that can hurt your kidneys while taking tenofovir without talking to your doctor. That sadly includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin, Advil, and Aleve.
  • The dose of tenofovir depends on how your kidneys work. It is really important to consistently monitor them with your doctor.
  • 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.
  • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.
Upsides and benefits
VireadZiagen
  • Take tenofovir once a day, with or without food.
  • For people who can't swallow the tablet, take the powder instead.
  • tenofovir is used for HIV in kids 2 years and older, and chronic hepatitis B in kids 12 years and older.
  • 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
VireadZiagen
  • The tenofovir powder can't be mixed in a liquid, so mix into soft food like applesauce and yogurt.
  • The dose of tenofovir depends on how your kidneys work. It is really important to consistently monitor them with your doctor.
  • 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
VireadZiagen
  • Don't take other drugs that can hurt your kidneys while taking tenofovir without talking to your doctor. That sadly includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin, Advil, and Aleve.
  • People with HIV should be tested for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) before starting tenofovir.
  • Similarly, patients with chronic hepatitis B, should be tested for HIV before starting tenofovir.
  • Decreases in bone mineral density can happen while taking tenofovir.
  • Work with your doctor to monitor your kidney function and bone mineral density regularly.
  • 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 VireadSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Viread (tenofovir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ZiagenSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ziagen (abacavir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it