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abacavir and lamivudine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking abacavir and lamivudine (Epzicom)?

Do not take this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to Epzicom or any medicine that contains abacavir or lamivudine, including: Combivir, Epivir, Trizivir, or Ziagen. Once you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir, you must never use it again.

Some people develop a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking abacavir and lamivudine. You may be more likely to develop lactic acidosis if you are overweight or have liver disease, if you are a woman, or if you have taken HIV or AIDS medications for a long time. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.

Abacavir and lamivudine can also cause severe or life-threatening effects on your liver. You should not take abacavir and lamivudine if you have liver disease.

Do not take abacavir and lamivudine with any of the following HIV medications: Atripla, Combivir, Complera, Emtriva, Epivir, Trizivir, Truvada, Zerit, or Ziagen.

To make sure you can safely take abacavir and lamivudine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

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.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether abacavir and lamivudine will harm an unborn baby. HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of this medication on the baby.

Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.

How should I take abacavir and lamivudine (Epzicom)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Abacavir and lamivudine may be taken with or without food.

This medicine comes with a Medication Guide and a Warning Card that lists the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Read this information carefully and carry the Warning Card with you at all times so you will know what symptoms to watch for.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using abacavir and lamivudine. Visit your doctor regularly.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

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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