Abacavir is an antiviral drug to treat HIV infection. The use of this drug should be accompanied by other anti- HIV drugs to maximize their effectiveness. Abacavir cannot cure HIV, but only slows the progression of HIV infection.

Abacavir works by inhibiting the process of replication or reproduction 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 people with HIV and reduce the risk of complications and diseases associated with HIV/AIDS infection, such as Kaposi's sarcoma or cancer.

What is Abacavir

The groupPrescription drugs
CategoryAntivirus nucleoside reverse transciptase inhibitors (NRTIs)
BenefitSlows the progression of HIV infection
Consumed byAdults and children aged 3 months
Abacavir for pregnant and lactating womenCategory C: Animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetus, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women. The drug should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus. Abacavir is absorbed into breast milk. Breastfeeding mothers should not take this medicine.
Drug formCaplet

Precautions Before Taking Abacavir

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

  • Do not take abacavir if you are allergic to this drug. Always tell your doctor about any allergies you have.
  • Tell your doctor if you have severe 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 have heart and blood vessel disease, such as hypertension or have a condition that can increase your risk of developing heart disease, such as having high cholesterol , diabetes, or smoking .
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any supplements, herbal remedies, or medications, including if you have previously taken other HIV medications.
  • 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 your doctor right away if you experience a drug allergic reaction , overdose, or serious side effect after taking abacavir.

Dosage and Rules for Use of Abacavir

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

The following are the doses of abacavir to treat HIV in adults and children:

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

How to Take Abacavir Correctly

Follow the doctor's advice and read the information listed 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 for maximum treatment effect. If you forget to take abacavir, take it immediately if the gap between the next consumption schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore it and do not double the dose.

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

Have regular medical check-ups with your doctor while taking abacavir treatment, so that the progress of your condition can be monitored. Follow the treatment schedule prescribed by the doctor.

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

Interactions of Abacavir with Other Drugs

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

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

In addition, if abacavir is taken with alcoholic beverages , there can be an interaction effect in the form of an increase in abacavir levels in the blood which can cause serious side effects.

Side Effects and Dangers of Abacavir

Some of the side effects that may appear after taking abacavir are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • No appetite
  • Nervous
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Nasal congestion or sneezing

Check with your doctor if the side effects above don't go away or get worse. Immediately see a doctor if you have an allergic reaction to the drug or any of the following serious side effects:

  • Fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
  • Cough , shortness of breath, sore throat
  • Jaundice or dark urine
  • Not feeling well or unusually tired
  • Red rash
  • Lactic acidosis , which can be characterized by symptoms of rapid breathing, drowsiness, vomiting

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