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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Ziagen

Generic Name: abacavir (Pronunciation: a BAK a veer)

What is abacavir (Ziagen)?

Abacavir is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Abacavir is used to treat HIV, which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Abacavir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Abacavir may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Ziagen 250 mg

oblong, yellow, imprinted with GX623

Ziagen Solution

yellow, strawberry-banana

What are the possible side effects of abacavir (Ziagen)?

  • Group 1 - fever;
  • Group 2 - rash;
  • Group 3 - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;
  • Group 4 - general tiredness, body aches;
  • Group 5 - shortness of breath, cough, sore throat.

Abacavir can cause other serious side effects that may not be signs of an allergic reaction. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • lactic acidosis - muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, slow or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired;
  • liver damage - nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • severe skin symptoms - fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
  • pancreatitis - severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
  • wheezing, trouble breathing;
  • vision changes or increased sensitivity to light;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
  • any other signs of new infection.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • sleep problems or strange dreams;
  • headache, mood changes; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and trunk).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about abacavir (Ziagen)?

Once you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir, you must never use it again.

Read the Warning Card that comes with this medication, and carry it with you at all times so you will know the symptoms of allergic reaction to watch for.

If you stop taking abacavir for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication again. If you miss several doses in a row, you could have a dangerous or even fatal allergic reaction when you start taking abacavir again.

Some people have developed a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking abacavir. Early signs of lactic acidosis generally get worse over time and this condition can be fatal. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms of lactic acidosis, such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, slow or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.

Abacavir can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on the liver . Call your doctor at once if you have any of these liver symptoms while taking abacavir: nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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