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Drug Guide    A   Abacavir

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   Abacavir

Abacavir
Oral


This drug is used in combination with other medications to help control your HIV infection, thereby improving your quality of life. It also lowers your risk of getting HIV disease complications (e.g., new infections, cancers). Abacavir belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors-NRTI.Abacavir is not a cure for HIV infection and it does not prevent the spread of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination (e.g., sharing used needles).This medication may also be used to prevent HIV infection after contact with the virus.

 
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 Abacavir images:

OverviewPhotosHow To UseSide EffectsPrecautionsMissed DoseDrug Interactions
Abacavir

Uses
This drug is used in combination with other medications to help control your HIV infection, thereby improving your quality of life. It also lowers your risk of getting HIV disease complications (e.g., new infections, cancers). Abacavir belongs to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors-NRTI.Abacavir is not a cure for HIV infection and it does not prevent the spread of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination (e.g., sharing used needles).This medication may also be used to prevent HIV infection after contact with the virus.
Notes
  • To reduce the risk of spreading HIV to others, always use effective barrier protections (e.g., latex or polyurethane condoms, dental dams) during all sexual activity.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.Do not share this medication with others.Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., liver tests, viral load, T-cell counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
  • Consult your doctor for more details.Keep all medical and laboratory appointments.

Storage
  • Store abacavir solution or tablets at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture.
  • The abacavir solution may also be stored in the refrigerator.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Do not store in the bathroom.
  • Keep all medicines away from children and pets.


How To Use
  • Read the Medication Guide and warning card provided by your pharmacist before you start using abacavir and each time you get a refill.
  • If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually 2 times daily or as directed by your doctor.Dosage is based on your age, weight, medical condition, and response to therapy.It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other anti-HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor.This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level.
  • Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals.
  • To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed, or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor.
  • Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.
  • If HIV becomes resistant to abacavir, it might also be resistant to other HIV medications.

Side Effects
  • See also Warnings section.Trouble sleeping or loss of appetite may occur.
  • If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.
  • Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (depression).Use of this drug increases your risk of pancreatitis.
  • Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: stomach/back pain with or without nausea/vomiting.Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (e.g., increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs).
  • The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits of therapy with your doctor, as well as the possible role of exercise to reduce this side effect.If you are taking HIV medications for the first time, you may experience a return of symptoms from an old infection.
  • Symptoms might include: new cough, trouble breathing, fever, new vision problems, new headaches, new skin problems.Contact your doctor immediately if you should have any of these effects.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.
  • See also Warning section.If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions
  • Before taking abacavir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: pancreatitis from using other HIV medicines, high blood fat levels (triglycerides), liver problems (e.g., hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis), alcohol use.If you stop using abacavir even for a short time and then restart the drug, you have an increased chance of developing the very serious (possibly fatal) allergic reaction.
  • Do not stop treatment unless directed by your doctor.
  • Before restarting abacavir, consult your doctor or pharmacist, and be sure you have easy access to medical care.
  • Also make sure you know the symptoms of this allergic reaction (listed in the Warning section and the warning card provided with this medication).Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the increased risk of pancreatitis.Kidney function declines as you grow older.
  • This drug is removed by the kidneys.
  • Therefore, caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug.This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy.
  • However, HIV medicines are now usually given to pregnant women with HIV.
  • This has been shown to decrease the risk of HIV transmission to the baby.
  • Abacavir may be part of that treatment.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk.
  • Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

Missed Dose
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is within 2 hours of your next dose.
  • In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule.
  • Do not double the dose to catch up.

Drug Interactions
  • Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it.
  • Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: methadone.This medication must not be taken with other medications that contain abacavir.
  • Check the labels on all your other prescription medications to make sure they do not contain abacavir.
  • If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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