Abacavir is an antiviral drug to treat HIV infection. Use of this drug must be accompanied by other anti- HIV drugs to maximize its effectiveness. Abacavir cannot cure HIV, but only slows the progress of HIV infection.

Abacavir works by inhibiting the replication or multiplication process of the HIV virus, so that the amount of HIV virus in the blood decreases. This way of working can improve the immune system of HIV sufferers and reduce the risk of complications and diseases related to HIV/AIDS infection, such as Kaposi's Sarcoma or cancer.

Abacavir trademarks: Abacavex, Abacavir Sulfate

What is Abacavir

Group Prescription drug
Category Antivirus nucleoside reverse transciptase inhibitors (NRTIs)
Benefit Slows the progression of HIV infection
Consumed by Adults and children ≥3 months of age
Abacavir for pregnant and lactating women Category C: Studies in experimental animals show side effects on the fetus, but there have been no controlled studies in pregnant women.

Drugs should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.

Abacavir can be absorbed into breast milk. Breastfeeding mothers should not take this drug.

Medicinal form Caplet

Precautions Before Taking Abacavir

Abacavir should not be used carelessly and must be in accordance with a doctor's prescription. Some things you need to pay attention to before taking this drug are:

  • Do not take abacavir if you are allergic to this drug. Always tell your doctor about your history of allergies.
  • Tell your doctor if you are suffering from serious liver disease, such as cirrhosis and liver failure , or have been diagnosed with a genetic variation called HLA-B*570. Abacavir should not be used by patients with these conditions.
  • Tell your doctor if you suffer from heart and blood vessel disease, such as hypertension or have conditions that can increase your risk of developing heart disease, such as suffering from high cholesterol , diabetes, or have a smoking habit .
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain supplements, herbal or other medications, including if you have previously taken other drugs for HIV.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor that you are taking abacavir if you plan to have dental treatment or surgery.
  • See a doctor immediately if you experience an allergic drug reaction , overdose, or serious side effects after taking abacavir.

Dosage and Rules for Using Abacavir

The abacavir dose will be determined based on the patient's age, condition, and patient response to treatment. In children, the dose of abacavir is determined based on body weight (BB). The dosage may change if the child's weight increases or decreases.

The following is the dosage of abacavir to treat HIV in adults and children:

  • Adults and children aged ≥3 months with weight ≥25 kg: The dose is 300 mg, 2 times a day, or 600 mg, 1 time a day. Treatment can be combined with other HIV drugs.
  • Children aged ≥3 months with a weight of 14–19 kg: The dose is 150 mg, 2 times a day, or 300 mg, 1 time a day
  • Children aged ≥3 months with a weight of 20–24 kg: The dose is 150 mg, taken in the morning, and 300 mg, taken in the evening, or 450 mg, taken once a day.

How to Take Abacavir Correctly

Follow the doctor's recommendations and read the information printed on the drug packaging label before taking abacavir.

Abacavir caplets can be taken with or without food. Swallow the caplet whole with a glass of water. If you have difficulty swallowing abacavir caplets, crush the medicine, then mix it with water, and drink it immediately.

It is recommended to take abacavir regularly at the same time every day so that the effect of the treatment is maximized. If you forget to take abacavir, consume it immediately if the break with the next consumption schedule is not too close. If it's close, ignore it and don't double the dose.

Do not change the dose or stop taking the drug without consulting your doctor because it can cause the amount of virus in the body to increase and make the disease more difficult to treat.

Carry out regular health checks to the doctor while undergoing treatment with abacavir, so that the progress of your condition can be monitored. Follow the treatment schedule set by the doctor.

Store abacavir caplets in a closed container in a cool room. Protect this drug from direct sunlight, and keep the drug out of the reach of children.

Abacavir Interaction with Other Drugs

The use of abacavir with other drugs can cause drug interaction effects, namely:

  • Increased risk of liver damage if used with ribavirin
  • Decreased levels of abacavir in the blood if used with methadone, phenytoin , rifampicin, or phenobarbital

In addition, if abacavir is consumed with alcoholic drinks , interaction effects can arise in the form of increased levels of abacavir in the blood which can cause serious side effects.

Side Effects and Dangers of Abacavir

Some side effects that may appear after taking abacavir are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • No appetite
  • Nervous
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Stuffy nose or sneezing

Consult a doctor if the side effects above do not subside or get worse. See a doctor immediately if an allergic reaction to the drug or the following serious side effects occurs:

  • Fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache
  • Cough , shortness of breath, sore throat
  • Jaundice or dark urine
  • Unusual malaise or tiredness
  • A reddish rash
  • Lactic acidosis , which can be characterized by symptoms of rapid breathing, drowsiness, vomiting