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Abacavir

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antiretroviral Agent Ziagen™ Children

Abacavir - What is it for

Abacavir is an anti-retroviral agent that makes viruses less infectious. It is used to decrease the amount of viruses (viral load) to as low as possible, for as long as possible.

Abacavir - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Abacavir cause?

Common side effects that may occur are:

  • Stomach discomfort, nausea and/or vomiting. Eating small frequent meals or sucking on hard, sugar-free candy may help to reduce these side effects.
  • Fever, feeling tired. Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen can help reduce the fever.
  • Headache or muscle aches. Taking painkillers e.g. paracetamol can help to reduce the pain.
  • Loose stools. Rehydrate yourself by drinking lots of water.
  • Change in body fat. Fat accumulation around the waist and sometimes accompanied by thinning of legs, arms, buttocks and face.

Inform your doctor if the side effects become severe and bothersome.

Abacavir can also cause hypersensitivity reaction (HSR) characterised by fever, worsening of cough or breathlessness, severe abdominal pain, rashes, severe diarrhea and/or vomiting. It can occur at any time during treatment with Abacavir, especially during the first 6 weeks of treatment initiation. Monitor for such symptoms closely and inform your doctor immediately if these signs and symptoms appear or become severe. These symptoms will usually resolve upon discontinuation of medication.

Abacavir may also affect the cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels and liver enzymes level. Your doctor will routinely monitor the levels prior to the treatment initiation and while your child is on this medication

Before taking Abacavir, what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Abacavir?

Abacavir - Dosage and How to Use

How should Abacavir be used?

Abacavir can be taken once or twice daily. The dose is usually determined based on patient’s body weight. It is usually given in combination with other anti-retroviral agents to achieve significant decrease in viral multiplication.

Abacavir can be taken with or without food. Remember to swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water.
Alternatively, it can be crushed and added to small amounts of semi-solid food or liquid and administered immediately.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

Missing doses of the medication make Abacavir less effective and may also make the virus resistant to Abacavir and possibly other antiretroviral agents. This could make the virus harder to treat.

If you forgot to give your child the medication, give the dose as soon as you remember and then continue to give it at the usual timing. Otherwise, if it is close to the time for your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and give the next dose at the usual time. Do not double or increase the dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Abacavir - Handling and Storage

How should I handle Abacavir safely?

How should I store Abacavir?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#Store at room temperature;#

How should I dispose of Abacavir safely?

Abacavir - Additional Information

Some medication may reduce its efficacy or increase its toxicity. Do not give your child any other medications, supplements or herbal products without first consulting your doctor.

  • Updated on Saturday, October 7, 2017
  • This article is contributed by Department of Pharmacy KK Women's and Children's Hospital

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The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

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