Abacavir reduces the levels of the HIV virus in the blood. It belongs to the class of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, molecules that are able to block the enzyme activity necessary for the replication of the virus.


What is Abacavir?


Abacavir is used in combination with other drugs to treat infections of HIV and reduce the risk of developing the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is also always used in combination with other drugs, to reduce the risk of infection in people who have been exposed to the virus. In no case is the drug a cure against HIV infection.


How should Abacavir be taken?


The abacavir can be taken in the form of tablets or solution for oral use, generally with a posology of one or two doses per day. The medication can be taken on an empty stomach or with meals; what matters is always to take it around the same time and not interrupt the treatment unless otherwise indicated by a doctor.

In all cases, the doctor will determine the exact dosage and mode of application.


Side effects associated with Abacavir


The possible side effects of abacavir may include:


  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Allergic reactions
  • Bubble formation
  • Skin exfoliation
  • Appearance of urticaria and pruritus
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chills


Furthermore the abacavir can cause an accumulation of acids in the blood, a condition that takes the name of lactic acidosis; Therefore, it is recommended to consult your doctor if you experience the following:


  • Short of breath or rapid breathing
  • Heart rhythm disorders
  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, swelling or tenderness in the upper right abdomen
  • Unexpected bleeding or bruising
  • Jaundice or cyanosis
  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored stools
  • Strong fatigue


Another possible side effect associated with this drug is weakening of the immune system, which can make it more prone to infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and hepatitis. Moreover, abacavir can cause a redistribution of body fat, which can accumulate more easily in areas such as the back of the neck, the top of the shoulders, breasts and abdomen, while it may decrease at the level of the arms, the legs, the buttocks and face.


Some studies have also suggested that taking abacavir is associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction, however, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (the European agency for the evaluation of medicinal products), indicates that the information available is insufficient to draw definitive conclusions.


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Abacavir


Before taking abacavir it is recommended to inform your doctor of any allergies to the active substance or to any of the drug ingredients. In the case where the intake of medication triggers an allergic reaction it is important to immediately notify your doctor. Furthermore, prior to taking abacavir you should also notify your doctor of any intake of non-prescription medications, vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal remedies, methadone, and other medicines to treat HIV infection. Finally, the doctor must be informed in cases of pregnancy, breastfeeding, if you have suffered from depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or cardiovascular disease.