What is Abacavir (Generic Ziagen) and what are its uses ?
How does Abacavir (Generic Ziagen) Works (Mechanism) ?
Dosage: How should you take Abacavir (Generic Ziagen) ?
Abacavir (Generic Ziagen) Warnings and Precautions
Abacavir (Generic Ziagen) Side effects
Abacavir is an antiviral drug called a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NRTI.
Abacavir is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Abacavir may reduce the amount of HIV in the blood and increase the number of CD4 cells (T-cells) in the blood.
Abacavir is used in combination with other drugs to treat the HIV virus. Abacavir will not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS.
Abacavir contains the active ingredient abacavir sulfate, which is a type of medicine called a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. Abacavir is used in the treatment of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection.
AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) is caused by infection with HIV. This virus invades cells of the immune system, particularly the white blood cells known as CD4 T-helper lymphocytes. These cells normally work to activate other cells in the immune system to fight infection. Since HIV kills CD4 T-helper cells, over time the body becomes less able to fight the virus or subsequent infections.
Once the virus is inside the CD4 T-cell it multiplies. Part of the process of viral multiplication involves the conversion of the virus genetic material, RNA, into DNA. A compound essential to the virus, called reverse transcriptase, achieves this. Reverse transcriptase is a compound known as an enzyme. Abacavir works by blocking the action of this enzyme, thereby interfering with the conversion of viral RNA into DNA. This stops the virus from multiplying.
There is no cure for HIV, but Abacavir is one of a number of medications that lowers the amount of virus in the body (viral load) and slows the progression of the disease from HIV to AIDS. Abacavir is used in conjunction with other anti-HIV drugs that attack the HIV virus in different ways. This helps prevent the virus becoming resistant to Abacavir .
It is important to keep adequate levels of Abacavir in your bloodstream at all times, so be sure to keep a supply on hand at all times and take this drug exactly as prescribed, even when you re feeling better. Abacavir may be taken with or without food.
The recommended dose of Abacavir is 300 milligrams twice a day in combination with other anti-HIV drugs.
The recommended dose of Abacavir for children and adolescents 3 months to 16 years of age is 8 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight twice a day in combination with other anti-HIV drugs. Do not exceed 300 milligrams twice a day.
If you miss a Abacavir dose
If you miss a dose of Abacavir, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses of Abacavir.
Abacavir overdose can lead to serious consequences. Seek medical emergency immediately.
Abacavir Storage instructions
Keep Abacavir out of reach of children.
Store the Abacavir tablets at room temperature 15-30°C (59-86°F), away from direct heat and light. Do not freeze. Keep the prescription bottle tightly closed. Throw away any unused amount of Abacavir after the expiration date.
Abacavir Preparations : Tablet- 300 mg
Abacavir is not a cure for HIV infection or AIDS. Abacavir does not completely eliminate HIV from the body or totally restore the immune system. You will continue to face the danger of serious opportunistic infections. It's important, therefore, to continue seeing your doctor for regular blood counts and tests, and to notify him immediately of any changes in your general health.
Abacavir precautions if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
There is no information available about the safety of Abacavir during pregnancy. Abacavir is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
It is recommended that women infected with the HIV virus must not breastfeed their infants under any circumstances, in order to avoid transmission of the virus to the baby. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
Special warnings about Abacavir
Abacavir may cause a severe allergic reaction in some people that may become life threatening if treatment is not stopped. This reaction usually occurs within 6 weeks of starting Abacavir but may occur at any time.
Due to the risk of serious allergic reactions to Abacavir you should be closely monitored by your doctor during treatment, particularly during the first two months of treatment, when you should be seen by your doctor every two weeks.
If you are diagnosed with a possible allergic reaction to Abacavir you must stop taking Abacavir immediately, even if other diagnoses are possible. If you stop taking Abacavir due to a possible allergic reaction you must never take any medicine containing abacavir again, as within hours you may experience a life threatening lowering of your blood pressure or death. If you have stopped taking Abacavir due to an allergic reaction please return all supplies of Abacavir to your pharmacy.
It is essential that you read the information on allergic reactions to Abacavir that is included in the leaflet supplied with Abacavir . There will also be an alert card supplied in your pack of Abacavir to remind you and any health professional treating you of the potential for an allergic reaction. You should carry this card with you at all times.
The HIV virus is very good at becoming resistant to anti-HIV medicines. For this reason it is very important that you carefully follow your doctor's instructions for taking your anti-HIV medicines, in order to maintain effective levels of the medicines in your blood. If the blood levels drop, the virus will be given more chance to replicate and develop resistance to the drugs. Skipping even a few doses increases the risk of treatment failure, so you should try to ensure that you take all your doses at the correct time, and that you visit your doctor for repeat prescriptions before you run out.
Treatment of HIV infection with anti-HIV medicines such as this one does not reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to other people through sexual contact or blood contamination. You should continue to use condoms to prevent transmitting the virus to your sexual partner.
Combination antiretroviral therapy has been associated with a redistribution of body fat (lipodystrophy) in people with HIV. The long-term consequences of this are currently unknown, however your doctor may wish to monitor your body fat, and the levels of lipids (e.g. cholesterol) and sugar (glucose) in your blood, and may prescribe additional medicines for any lipid disorders that occur during treatment with this medicine. Contact your doctor if you notice any changes in your body fat during treatment with your HIV medicines.
It is important that you take Abacavir as regularly as possible as directed by your doctor. Try not to miss any doses, as irregular intake of the medicine may increase the chances of experiencing an allergic reaction. If you have stopped taking Abacavir for any reason, particularly if due to side effects or other illness, it is important that you contact your doctor before restarting treatment. In some cases your doctor will ask you to restart treatment in a place where you will be able to get ready access to medical care if needed.
Why Abacavir should not be prescribed ?
Abacavir should not be used if you are suffering from severely decreased liver function or end stage kidney disease. Abacavir should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using Abacavir and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
More common side effects of Abacavir may include:
Less common side effects of Abacavir may include:
abdominal or stomach pain,
difficult or labored breathing,
joint or muscle pain,
nausea, numbness or tingling of hands, feet, or face, redness and soreness of eyes, shortness of breath,
skin rash, sore throat, sores in mouth, swelling of feet or lower legs, trouble in sleeping,
vomiting, unusual feeling of discomfort or illness, unusual tiredness
Rare side effects of Abacavir may include:
abdominal swelling, decreased appetite, fast, shallow breathing, sleepiness
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