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Abacavir

IMPORTANT WARNING:

Abacavir can cause severe allergic reactions that can lead to death. Stop taking abacavir and call your doctor immediately if you develop a rash or at least one symptom from two of the following groups: feverexcessive tirednessupset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach painsore throat, shortness of breath, or coughIf you stop taking abacavir because you had an allergic reaction, never take abacavir again. If you stop taking abacavir for any other reason, do not start taking it again without talking to your doctor.An increase in lactic acid and an enlarged liver have been reported with the use of abacavir alone or in combination with other medications. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to abacavir.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Abacavir is used with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection. It will slow the spread of HIV infection in the body. Abacavir is not a cure and may not decrease the number of HIV-related illnesses. Abacavir does not prevent the spread of HIV to other people.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Abacavir comes as a tablet or liquid to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day with other antiretroviral medications. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take abacavir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Continue to take abacavir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking abacavir without talking to your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking abacavir,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to abacavir or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other anti-viral drugs and vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking abacavir, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking abacavir.
  • tell your doctor if you drink alcohol.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects are common with abacavir. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty sleeping
  • tiredness
  • headache

If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • itching
  • fever
  • excessive tiredness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • severe stomach pain

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Every time you have a prescription for abacavir filled, your pharmacist will give you a medication guide and a warning card describing the symptoms of allergic reaction. Make sure to carry the warning card with you.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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