It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
This medicine may cause a severe allergic reaction in some patients. This reaction usually occurs within 6 weeks after the medicine is started, but may occur at any time. If untreated, it can lead to severe low blood pressure and even death. Stop taking this medicine and check with your doctor immediately if you or your child notice abdominal or stomach pain; cough; diarrhea; fever; headache; nausea; numbness or tingling of the face, feet, or hands; pain in the joints; pain in the muscles; shortness of breath; skin rash; sore throat; swelling of the feet or lower legs; unusual feeling of discomfort or illness; unusual tiredness or weakness; or vomiting.
When you or your child begin taking this medicine, you will be given a warning card which describes symptoms of severe allergic reactions that may be caused by abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine combination. The warning card also provides information about how to treat these allergic reactions. For your safety, you should carry the warning card with you at all times.
If you or your child must stop using abacavir because of an allergic reaction, you should never use the medicine again. Return the unused medicine to your doctor or pharmacist. A worse reaction, possibly even death, can occur if you use the medicine again. Tell your doctor right away if you have ever taken abacavir, especially if you have experienced an allergic reaction to it in the past.
Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity, which includes an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms: abdominal or stomach discomfort or cramping; dark urine; decreased appetite; diarrhea; general feeling of discomfort; light-colored stools; muscle cramping or pain; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; trouble breathing; vomiting; or yellow eyes or skin.
When you or your child start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you have infections that are hidden in your body (e.g., pneumonia or tuberculosis), you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, tell your doctor right away.
This medicine may cause you or your child to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor right away if you notice changes in your body shape, including an increased amount of body fat in the neck or upper back, face, around the chest, or stomach area. You might also lose fat from your legs, arms, or face.
This medicine may increase your risk of having a heart attack. This is more likely to occur if you smoke or already have heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol or fats in the blood. Call your doctor right away if you have chest pain or discomfort; nausea; pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back or neck; shortness of breath; sweating; or vomiting. These could be symptoms of a heart attack.
This medicine does not decrease the risk of transmitting the HIV infection to others through sexual contact or by contamination through blood. HIV may be spread to others through infected body fluids, including blood, vaginal fluid, or semen. If you are infected, it is best to avoid any sexual activity involving an exchange of body fluids with other people. If you do have sex, always wear (or have your partner wear) a condom (“rubber”). Only use condoms made of latex or polyurethane and use them every time you have contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. Also, do not share needles with anyone or use dirty needles. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.