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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Epzicom

Generic Name: abacavir and lamivudine (Pronunciation: a BAK a veer and la MIV yoo deen)

What is abacavir and lamivudine (Epzicom)?

Abacavir and lamivudine is an antiviral medication. It is in a group of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medicines called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Abacavir and lamivudine helps keep the HIV virus from reproducing in the body.

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

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

Epzicom

oblong, orange, imprinted with GS FC2

What are the possible side effects of abacavir and lamivudine (Epzicom)?

  • 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.

Other serious side effects that may not be signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • stomach pain, low fever, lost appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • lactic acidosis - muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.

Less serious side effects include:

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

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 and lamivudine (Epzicom)?

Before taking abacavir and lamivudine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, or a risk factor for heart disease such as smoking, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

You may need a blood test before you start taking abacavir and lamivudine for the first time, or if you are restarting the medication after stopping for reasons not related to an allergic reaction.

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.

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

Do not allow this medicine to run out completely before you get your prescription refilled. If you miss several doses, you could have a dangerous or even fatal allergic reaction when you start taking the medicine again. If you stop taking abacavir and lamivudine for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication again.



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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