Ziagen

(abacavir)

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Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection.

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Our bottom line

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.

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    $80.86
Quick facts about Ziagen
  • Drug class: Infection
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (abacavir)

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).
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What to expect from Ziagen, on one page

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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).
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What to expect from Ziagen, on one page

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How it works

Ziagen (abacavir) treats HIV infections by preventing the virus from attacking your immune cells and multiplying.

Quick facts about Ziagen
  • Drug class: Infection
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (abacavir)

Dosage forms

  • Pill
  • Liquid
Tried Ziagen? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Ziagen (abacavir) for HIV treatment

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  • First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
    Long term
  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
    Long term
  • Possible side effects
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dream and sleep disorders
  • Allergic reaction
  • Mood changes
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Side effect rates for Ziagen (abacavir)

From 324 clinical trials of Ziagen when taken for hiv treatment
  • Nausea
    19%19%
  • Headache
    13%13%
  • Fatigue and discomfort
    12%12%
  • Dreams/sleep disorders
    10%10%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    10%10%
  • Severe allergic reactions
    9%9%
  • Fever and/or chills
    9%9%
  • Nausea and vomiting
    9%9%
  • Severe allergic reactions
    8%8%
  • Headaches/migraine
    7%7%
  • Nausea
    7%7%
  • Fatigue and discomfort
    7%7%
  • Diarrhea
    7%7%
  • Skin rashes
    7%7%
  • Rashes
    6%6%
  • Stomach pain
    6%6%
  • Depression
    6%6%
  • Dizziness
    6%6%
  • Muscle and joint pain
    6%6%
  • Fever and/or chills
    6%6%
  • Depression
    6%6%
  • Muscle and joint pain
    5%5%
  • Skin rashes
    5%5%
  • Ear/nose/throat infections
    5%5%
  • Viral respiratory infections
    5%5%
  • Anxiety
    5%5%
  • Ear/nose/throat infections
    5%5%
  • Bronchitis
    4%4%
  • Pneumonia
    4%4%
  • Vomiting
    2%2%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Ziagen.

Ziagen (abacavir)
Placebo

People taking Ziagen felt side effect more

People taking Ziagen felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Ziagen (abacavir)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Positive genetic test (HLA B5701)

    Life-threatening allergic reactions to Ziagen (abacavir) have happened to people taking it as part of their HIV treatment. This usually happens in the first 6 weeks. Your doctor will do a genetic test to see if this can happen to you. Go to the emergency room right away if you have a high fever, rash, nausea and vomiting, fast heartbeat, dizziness or trouble breathing.

    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

Common concerns from people taking Ziagen (abacavir)

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Interactions
  • Ziagen (abacavir) has few drug interactions.
Alcohol
  • Alcohol should be avoided when taking Ziagen (abacavir).
Food
  • Can be taken with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
  • People whose kidneys are not working as well can still take Ziagen (abacavir) without having to change its dose.
  • This is not a great medication to take if you have liver problems.