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Abacavir And Lamivudine

Abacavir and lamivudine

General Information

The combination of Abacavir, lamivudine and zidovudine is an antiretroviral drug. Antiretrovirals are drugs that suppress the activity or replication of retroviruses such as HIV. This specific antiviral is classified as a combination of reverse transcriptase inhibitors, meaning that it blocks an enzyme, which is essential for the retrovirus to multiply.

In South Africa this combination is registered for the treatment of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

If not treated, HIV will advance to weaken the body's immune system, gradually chipping away to create grounds for other infections, against which the body will find more and more difficult to protect itself. HIV develops into acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids) when your immune system has been severely weakened.


This product contains 2 drugs: abacavir and lamivudine. It is used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life. Abacavir and lamivudine both belong to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).

Abacavir/lamivudine is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

How does this combination work?

When HIV infects a human T-cell, a type of white blood cell that plays a key role in the functioning of the immune system, viral genetic information in the form of RNA needs to be converted to DNA for the virus to have any effect. It makes use of an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to achieve this conversion. This drug targets and inhibits this enzyme, thus preventing the spread of HIV.

Abacavir-Lamivudine Dosage

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Abacavir and lamivudine may be taken with or without food. Tell the doctor if a child taking this medicine has trouble swallowing the tablet.

This medicine comes with a Medication Guide and a Warning Card that lists the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Read this information carefully and carry the Warning Card with you at all times so you will know what symptoms to watch for.

Use this medicine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Abacavir & Lamivudine Precautions

Serious Allergic Reaction to Abacavir. Patients taking abacavir/lamivudine may have a serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction) that can cause death. Your risk of this allergic reaction is much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701 than if you do not. Your doctor can determine with a blood test if you have this gene variation.

If you stop abacavir/lamivudine because of an allergic reaction, NEVER take abacavir/lamivudine or any other abacavir-containing medicine again. If you take abacavir/lamivudine or any other abacavir-containing medicine again after you have had an allergic reaction, WITHIN HOURS you may get life-threatening symptoms that may include very low blood pressure or death.

If you stop abacavir/lamivudine for any other reason, even for a few days, and you are not allergic to abacavir/lamivudine, talk with your doctor before taking it again. Taking abacavir/lamivudine again can cause a serious allergic or life-threatening reaction, even if you never had an allergic reaction to it before. If your doctor tells you that you can take abacavir/lamivudine again, start taking it when you are around medical help or people who can call a doctor if you need one.

Lactic Acidosis. Some human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medicines, including abacavir/lamivudine, can cause a rare but serious condition called lactic acidosis with liver enlargement (hepatomegaly). Nausea and tiredness that don't get better may be symptoms of lactic acidosis. In some cases this condition can cause death. Women, overweight people, and people who have taken HIV medicines like abacavir/lamivudine for a long time have a higher chance of getting lactic acidosis and liver enlargement. Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency and must be treated in the hospital.