"On March 20, we recognize the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. This 7th national observance is our chance to raise awareness of the risks of HIV to Native people, to help communities understand what con"...
IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
ABACAVIR/LAMIVUDINE - ORAL
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Epzicom
WARNING: In some patients, the abacavir in this product has caused a serious (sometimes fatal) allergic reaction. Your doctor may order a blood test to measure your risk before you start this medication or take it again. If the blood test shows you are at greater risk, your doctor should discuss the risks and benefits of abacavir and other treatment choices with you. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include any of the following: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, fever, extreme tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, muscle aches, sore throat, mouth sores, or cough. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. If you have stopped taking abacavir because of an allergic reaction, you must never take any form of abacavir again. Notify all of your doctors and pharmacists if you have stopped taking abacavir due to an allergic reaction. Read the warning card provided with this medication for more details.
Rarely, abacavir/lamivudine has caused severe (sometimes fatal) liver problems and a certain metabolic problem (lactic acidosis). Tell your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of liver problems (such as persistent nausea, vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, pale stools, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin, unusual tiredness), or of lactic acidosis (such as stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, fast/difficult breathing, drowsiness, muscle pain, weakness, cold skin). These serious side effects may occur more often in women and obese patients.
If you have hepatitis B infection and HIV, you may have a serious worsening of hepatitis symptoms if you stop taking lamivudine. Talk with your doctor before stopping this medication. Your doctor will monitor liver tests for several months after you stop lamivudine. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of worsening liver problems.
USES: This product contains 2 drugs: abacavir and lamivudine. It is used with other medications to help control your HIV infection, thereby improving your quality of life. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This product also lowers your risk of getting HIV disease complications (such as new infections, cancer). 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 and it does not prevent the spread of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination (such as sharing used needles).
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide and Warning Card provided by your pharmacist before you start taking abacavir/lamivudine and each time you get a refill. Carry the Warning Card with you at all times. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
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. The Canadian manufacturer of this product states that it is not to be used in patients weighing less than 40 kilograms (88 pounds).
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.
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