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Abacavir/lamivudine (By mouth)
Abacavir Sulfate (a-BAK-a-vir SUL-fate), Lamivudine (la-MIV-ue-deen)
Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but combinations of drugs may slow the progress of the disease.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir or lamivudine, or if you have liver disease or severe kidney disease.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one. Your doctor might ask you to sign some forms to show that you understand this information.
- Do not allow yourself to run out of this medicine.
- You may take this medicine with or without food.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are using cotrimoxazole (Bactrim®, Septra®), interferon-alfa (Intron®-A, Roferon®-A), methadone (Dolophine®), nelfinavir (Viracept®), ribavirin (Copegus®, Rebetol®, Virazole®), or zalcitabine (Hivid®). Tell your doctor if you are also using other medicines that contain either abacavir or lamivudine, such as Combivir®, Epivir®, Epivir-HBV®, Trizivir®, or Ziagen®.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you have liver problems (especially hepatitis B), kidney problems, a genetic condition (such as a gene variation called HLA-B*5701), heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you smoke.
- You should not breast feed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you may give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have 2 or more of the following groups of symptoms. These may be signs of a life-threatening allergic reaction to the medicine:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain.
- Severe tiredness, body aches, or general ill feeling.
- Sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath.
- Ask your pharmacist for a Warning Card listing the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Carry the card with you at all times.
- Do not stop using this medicine unless your doctor tells you to do so. If you stop taking this medicine for any reason, do not start taking it again without talking to your doctor first.
- If you must stop taking this medicine because of an allergic reaction, you should never use the medicine again. A worse reaction, possibly even death, may occur if you take the medicine again. Return the unused medicine to your doctor or pharmacist.
- When you start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you have infections that are hidden in your body, such as pneumonia, herpes virus, or tuberculosis, you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, be sure to tell your doctor.
- Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity, which includes an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms: abdominal or stomach discomfort or cramping; dark urine; decreased appetite; diarrhea; general feeling of discomfort; light-colored stools; muscle cramping or pain; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; trouble breathing; vomiting; or yellow eyes or skin.
- This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area. You might also lose fat from the legs, arms, and face.
- This medicine may increase your risk of having a heart attack. This is more likely to occur if you already have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or fats in the blood, or if you smoke.
- This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
- Blistering, red, or peeling skin rash.
- Change in how much or how often you urinate.
- Extreme weakness, tiredness, or confusion.
- Increased hunger or thirst.
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
- Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
- Rapid breathing or trouble breathing.
- Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
- Unusual bleeding or bruising.
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Depression or anxiety.
- Gaining weight around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist.
- Hair loss.
- Mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain.
- Mild skin rash or itching.
- Muscle pain or tenderness.
- Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
- Trouble sleeping or abnormal dreams.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor