abacavir and lamivudine (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking abacavir and lamivudine (Epzicom)?
You should not take abacavir and lamivudine if you have liver disease. Do not take this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to abacavir. Tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to any medicine that contains abacavir, such as Trizivir or Ziagen. Once you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir and lamivudine, you must never use it again.
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.
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.
To make sure you can safely take abacavir and lamivudine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether abacavir and lamivudine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection.
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.
This medication should not be given to children under 18 years old.
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.
You may take abacavir and lamivudine 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.
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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Resources for Staying Well
- HIV-AIDS: Myths and Facts
- Understanding The Symptoms of AIDS/HIV
- The Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions About HIV and AIDS