Compare Ziagen vs. Descovy

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

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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.

Works with other medicines to treat HIV.

Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is a first choice combination tablet that is used with other medications to treat HIV and is safe for your kidneys and bones.

Upsides
  • 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).
  • Compared to Truvada (a similar drug formulation), Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is safe for your kidneys and bones.
  • Take only once daily, with or without food.
  • Children 12 years or older can take Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide).
Downsides
  • 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).
  • Might worsen hepatitis B infections if you suddenly stop taking Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide).
  • Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is only approved to treat HIV, not to stop you from getting it.
  • Since Descovy (emtricitabine / tenofovir alafenamide) is not a generic, it may be expensive.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
21possible side effects
  • Nausea
    19%
  • Headache
    13%
  • Fatigue and discomfort
    12%
  • Dreams/sleep disorders
    10%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    10%
  • Severe allergic reactions
    9%
  • Fever and/or chills
    9%
  • Headaches/migraine
    7%
  • Diarrhea
    7%
  • Skin rashes
    7%
  • Rashes
    6%
  • Stomach pain
    6%
  • Depression
    6%
  • Dizziness
    6%
  • Muscle and joint pain
    6%
  • Ear/nose/throat infections
    5%
  • Viral respiratory infections
    5%
  • Anxiety
    5%
  • Bronchitis
    4%
  • Pneumonia
    4%
  • Vomiting
    2%
See more detailed side effects
1possible side effects
  • Nausea
    10%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Severe allergic reactions
    • Positive genetic test (HLA B5701)
  • Lactic acidosis & severe liver damage
    • Obesity
    • Women
    • History of liver problems
  • Immune system reactivation
  • Fat redistribution
  • Heart attack
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Sudden worsening of Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
    • Hepatitis B virus
  • Lactic acidosis and enlarged, fatty liver
    • Liver disease
    • Obesity
  • Kidney damage
    • History of kidney damage
    • Using other drugs known to harm kidneys
  • Weakened bones
    • History of bone fractures
    • Osteoporosis
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
    • HIV
    • Exposure to other infections
    • Start of a new HIV medication
    • Change in HIV medication
See more detailed risks and warnings