Abacavir is used together with other anti-viral medicines to slow down the progression of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.
Take Abacavir exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Abacavir is available as a tablet and as an oral solution.
If you have been given Abacavir tablets, swallow it whole with a glass of water.
If you have been given an oral solution:
1. Remove the bottle cap and push the adapter into the neck of the bottle.
2. Insert the syringe into the adapter while turning the bottle upside down.
3. Use the syringe to measure out the prescribed dose by pulling out the plunger of the syringe.
4. Remove the syringe from the bottle.
5. Place the tip of the syringe into your mouth and against the inside of your cheek.
6. As you slowly press the plunger of the syringe, take and swallow the solution.
Abacavir must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it suddenly as this may worsen your condition.
If you have stopped taking this medicine for a few days or have previously been told to stop the medication, DO NOT restart Abacavir without first consulting your doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take this medicine if you ever had an allergic reaction (rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to Abacavir or any other similar medicines.
Alert your doctor if you have liver disease as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have heart disease or if you are at risk of heart disease (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking).
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
Inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding. It is best that you do not breastfeed as HIV passes into the breast milk. Avoid breastfeeding in order to reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby. It is recommended to give your baby commercial infant formula provided that you have access to clean water and facilities.
Abacavir does not reduce your risk of passing HIV infection to others through sexual contact or through contamination with infected blood. Ensure that you use proper precautions to avoid spreading HIV infection to others.
Both Abacavir and HIV may weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. Avoid crowded places or those who are sick to minimise the risk of catching an infection. While undergoing treatment, you may develop other infections or experience other health problems. Always keep your doctor updated on your condition.
Certain genes known as HLA-B*5701 have higher risk of developing serious allergic reactions with Abacavir. Gene test needs to be performed before starting the treatment.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly. You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. liver and kidney function test, cholesterol level, amount of HIV in a blood sample) while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
This medicine may cause any of the following side effects: headache, rashes, muscle pain, anxiety, depression, and loss of appetite.
Abacavir may cause serious allergic reactions usually within the first 6 weeks of treatment, but it can also happen at any time while you are being treated with this medicine. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or stomach pain
- tiredness, body aches or feeling unwell
- breathlessness, cough or sore throat
- swelling of the mouth, tongue or face
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other anti-viral medicines e.g. ribavirin, ganciclovir or valganciclovir
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizure) e.g. phenytoin
- pain killers e.g. methadone
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Abacavir.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
Do not take an oral solution 2 months after you first open it.
Return any unused or expired medicine to your pharmacist, clinic or hospital for disposal.