Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Ziagen

(Abacavir)

  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • HIV infection
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Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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Side effects for Ziagen (Abacavir)

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These are side effects of Ziagen (Abacavir) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

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What to expect when you take Ziagen (Abacavir)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.

Risks and Warnings for Ziagen (Abacavir)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Prior severe allergic reaction to abacavir

    abacavir has been reported to cause hypersensitivity reactions (severe rash, trouble breathing) and angioedema (life-threatening condition with swelling with or without hives). Seek immediate medical attention.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Ziagen (Abacavir)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
Pregnancy
Kidneys & liver
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.
Sleep
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.