Generic Name (active ingredient): Abacavir sulfate
Brand Name: Ziagen

Abacavir sulfate (Ziagen) is antiviral medication used for the treatment of AIDS and HIV. It is used only in combination with other HIV medication.

How does the medication work?
Ziagen (abacavir sulfate) belongs to a group of antiviral HIV preparations called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Abacavir is a potent selective inhibitor of HIV-1 and HIV-2 with decreased sensitivity to other HIV drugs (zidovudine, didanosine, nevirapine). Abacavir is metabolized inside the cell into its active form carbovir-5- triphosphate. Action mechanism is associated with inhibiting nucleoside reverse trascriptase leading to abruption of RNA chain and disruption viral replication. Abacavir is not a cure for AIDS or HIV, it can help the spread of the infection.

Why is Abacavir prescribed?
Abacavir is used to treat HIV infections in adults and children (in combination with other HIV drugs).

What should I know before taking Abacavir?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to Abacavir or to any other preparations such as zidovudine, didanosine, stavudine, telbivudine

Do not take Abacavir if any of the below conditions apply to you:

  • Liver diseases such as hepatic failure, liver cirrhosis
  • Cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and strokes
  • Heart failure, coronary heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Anemia, neutropenia and blood diseases

Before taking Abacavir, tell your health care provider about any other medicines you take or if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Smoke
  • Drinking alcohol frequently

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeed, you should take Abacavir only under a strict control of your doctor. Abacavir belongs to a pregnancy category C meaning that it is not safe to use this during pregnancy.

How to take Abacavir:
Abacavir sulfate is available in the forms of tablets and oral solution. Dosage of Abacavir is prescribed individually by physician.

Take the entire amount of Abacavir prescribed by your doctor, even if you feel better before the end of the treatment. If you stop taking medication too early, symptoms may return.
If you missed the scheduled dose, take the medication as soon as you remember, but skip the dose if it is almost the time for the following dose. Do not take two doses at once.

What are the side effects of Abacavir?
Abacavir may cause the following side effects:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia

Other Abacavir side effects include: diarrhea, fever, muscle pain, bone pain, ENT infection, dizziness, viral infections.
In rare cases Abacavir may cause: symptom of lactic acidosis, bleeding, tendency to infections, depression and anxiety

If you experience any side effect that last long or becomes bothersome, please inform your doctor as dose adjustment or treatment discontinuation may be required. If you overdose Abacavir, seek immediate medical attention. Overdose symptoms include:

Which are Abacavir overdose symptoms?
There are no known exact Abacavir overdose symptoms. Based on possible side effects and certain studies in high doses abacavir may cause:

  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Lactic acidosis symptoms
  • Hepatic steatosis symptoms

Which other medicines may affect Abacavir?
Abacavir may interact with the following groups of drugs:

  • Antivirals (ganciclovir,Ribavirin, Valganciclovir)
  • Alcohol
  • Narcotics (methadone)

For a complete list of possible interactions ask your doctor or pharmacist. Before taking Abacavir, let your doctor know what other medicines, including OTC, you currently take.

How should I store Abacavir?
You should store the medication at dry and protected from light place out of reach of children. Do not store in the bathroom.

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