Epzicom (abacavir + lamivudine)

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Generic Name: Epzicom (abacavir + lamivudine) Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) used for?

Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) is commonly used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life. Abacavir and lamivudine both belong to a class of drugs known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).

Abacavir/lamivudine is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

How should I take Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine)?

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily or as directed by your doctor.

Because this combination product has fixed doses of abacavir and lamivudine, it should only be used if your doctor has determined that the doses of both medications in this product are right for you.

If you stop taking any medication containing abacavir even for a short time and then restart the drug, you have an increased chance of developing a very serious (possibly fatal) allergic reaction. Refill your medication before you run out. Do not stop treatment unless directed by your doctor. Before restarting any medication containing abacavir, consult your doctor or pharmacist, and be sure you have easy access to medical care.

It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses. Do not increase your dose, take this drug more often than prescribed, or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.

This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.

How do I store Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine)?

Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine)?

Before taking abacavir/lamivudine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to either of these drugs; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis), disease of the pancreas (pancreatitis), alcohol use.

Abacavir may increase your risk of a heart attack. Discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor and ways to lower your risk of heart disease. Tell your doctor if you have heart problems, if you smoke, or if you have other conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels.

This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Alcohol may also increase the risk of liver problems and pancreatitis. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.

Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially pancreatitis.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. Treatment can lower the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

This medication passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine). Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) is pregnancy risk category N according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine)?

Headache, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, tiredness, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

As your immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including: unexplained weight loss, severe tiredness, muscle aches/weakness that doesn’t go away, headaches that are severe or don’t go away, joint pain, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs, vision changes, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores), signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking).

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as depression, anxiety), easy bruising/bleeding, signs of anemia (such as unusual tiredness, fast breathing, pale skin, fast heartbeat).

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: signs of pancreatitis (such as nausea, vomiting, stomach/abdominal/back pain, fever).

Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (such as increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs). The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor, as well as the possible use of exercise to reduce this side effect.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine)?

Do not take other products that contain abacavir or lamivudine with this medication.

Emtricitabine is similar to lamivudine and should not be taken with this medication.

A product that may interact with this drug is: orlistat.

Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine)?

Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine)?

Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine).

What is the dose of Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for HIV Infection

1 tablet orally once a day

Use: In combination with other antiretroviral agents, for the treatment of HIV-1 infection

Usual Adult Dose for Nonoccupational Exposure

US CDC recommendations: 1 tablet orally once a day

Duration of therapy: 28 days

Comments:

-Recommended as part of alternative regimens (NNRTI-based, protease inhibitor-based, or triple NRTI) for nonoccupational postexposure prophylaxis of HIV infection

-Prophylaxis should be started as soon as possible, within 72 hours of exposure.

-Current guidelines should be consulted for additional information.

Usual Adult Dose for Occupational Exposure

US Public Health Service working group recommendations: 1 tablet orally once a day

Duration of therapy: 28 days, if tolerated

Comments:

-Only with expert consultation, as part of an alternative regimen for use as HIV postexposure prophylaxis

-Prophylaxis should be started as soon as possible, preferably within hours after exposure.

-The optimal duration of prophylaxis is unknown and may differ based on institution protocol.

-Current guidelines should be consulted for additional information.

Renal Dose Adjustments

CrCl less than 50 mL/min: Not recommended; individual components should be used.

Liver Dose Adjustments

Mild liver dysfunction (Child-Pugh A): Not recommended; individual components should be used.

Moderate or severe liver dysfunction (Child-Pugh B or C): Contraindicated

Other Comments

Administration advice:

-Use in combination with other antiretroviral agents.

-May administer without regard to food

-Consult the manufacturer product information regarding missed doses.

General:

-Screening for HLA-B*5701 allele recommended before starting this drug.

-Before starting this drug, medical history should be reviewed for prior exposure to any abacavir-containing product (to prevent reintroduction in patient with history of abacavir hypersensitivity).

Monitoring:

-Hepatic: Hepatic function of HIV-1/HBV-coinfected patients with clinical and laboratory follow-up (for at least several months after stopping therapy)

Patient advice:

-Always read the Medication Guide and Warning Card (with information about abacavir hypersensitivity reaction) dispensed with each new and refill prescription; carry the Warning Card.

-Contact physician immediately if signs/symptoms of hypersensitivity develop; do not restart this or any other abacavir-containing product after a hypersensitivity reaction.

-If this drug is stopped for any reason besides hypersensitivity, do not restart it (or any other abacavir-containing product) without consulting physician; medical care must be readily accessible.

What is the dose of Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for HIV Infection

At least 25 kg: 1 tablet orally once a day

Comments:

-Use of the individual components is recommended for patients less than 25 kg; the manufacturer product information for abacavir and lamivudine should be consulted.

-Before prescribing this drug, the ability to swallow tablets should be assessed.

Use: In combination with other antiretroviral agents, for the treatment of HIV-1 infection

Precautions

Safety and efficacy of the individual components have not been established in patients younger than 3 months.

How is Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) available?

Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine) is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Oral Tablet

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Epzicom (Abacavir + Lamivudine), take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 25, 2018 | Last Modified: January 25, 2018

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