November 24, 2015
Recommended Topic Related To:


"For children who have had HIV-1 infection since birth, the combination drug therapies now used to treat HIV appear to protect against the heart damage seen before combination therapies were available, according to researchers in a National Instit"...


(abacavir) Tablets



Hypersensitivity Reactions

Serious and sometimes fatal hypersensitivity reactions, with multiple organ involvement, have occurred with ZIAGEN® (abacavir).

Patients who carry the HLA-B*5701 allele are at a higher risk of a hypersensitivity reaction to abacavir; although, hypersensitivity reactions have occurred in patients who do not carry the HLA-B*5701 allele [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

ZIAGEN is contraindicated in patients with a prior hypersensitivity reaction to abacavir and in HLA-B*5701-positive patients [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. All patients should be screened for the HLA-B*5701 allele prior to initiating therapy with ZIAGEN or reinitiation of therapy with ZIAGEN, unless patients have a previously documented HLA-B*5701 allele assessment. Discontinue ZIAGEN immediately if a hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, regardless of HLA-B*5701 status and even when other diagnoses are possible [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Following a hypersensitivity reaction to ZIAGEN, NEVER restart ZIAGEN or any other abacavir-containing product because more severe symptoms, including death can occur within hours. Similar severe reactions have also occurred rarely following the reintroduction of abacavir-containing products in patients who have no history of abacavir hypersensitivity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Lactic Acidosis and Severe Hepatomegaly with Steatosis

Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogues and other antiretrovirals. Discontinue ZIAGEN if clinical or laboratory findings suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity occur [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].


ZIAGEN is the brand name for abacavir sulfate, a synthetic carbocyclic nucleoside analogue with inhibitory activity against HIV-1. The chemical name of abacavir sulfate is (1S,cis)-4-[2- amino-6-(cyclopropylamino)-9H-purin-9-yl]-2-cyclopentene-1-methanol sulfate (salt) (2:1). Abacavir sulfate is the enantiomer with 1S, 4R absolute configuration on the cyclopentene ring. It has a molecular formula of (C14H18N6O)2•H2SO4 and a molecular weight of 670.76 g per mol.

It has the following structural formula:

ZIAGEN (abacavir) Structural Formula Illustration

Abacavir sulfate is a white to off-white solid and is soluble in water.

ZIAGEN tablets are for oral administration. Each tablet contains abacavir sulfate equivalent to 300 mg of abacavir as active ingredient and the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. The tablets are coated with a film that is made of hypromellose, polysorbate 80, synthetic yellow iron oxide, titanium dioxide, and triacetin.

ZIAGEN oral solution is for oral administration. Each milliliter (1 mL) of ZIAGEN oral solution contains abacavir sulfate equivalent to 20 mg of abacavir (i.e., 20 mg per mL) as active ingredient and the following inactive ingredients: artificial strawberry and banana flavors, citric acid (anhydrous), methylparaben and propylparaben (added as preservatives), propylene glycol, saccharin sodium, sodium citrate (dihydrate), sorbitol solution, and water.

In vivo, abacavir sulfate dissociates to its free base, abacavir. Dosages are expressed in terms of abacavir.

What are the possible side effects of abacavir (Ziagen)?

Stop using abacavir and call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction from two or more of these specific side effect groups:

  • Group 1 - fever;
  • Group 2 - rash;
  • Group 3 - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;
  • Group 4 - general ill feeling, extreme tiredness, body aches;
  • Group 5 - shortness of breath, cough, sore throat.

Once you have had an allergic reaction to abacavir, you must never use it again. If you stop taking abacavir for any reason, talk to your doctor before you start taking the medication...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Ziagen »

What are the precautions when taking abacavir sulfate (Ziagen)?

See also Warning and How to Use sections.

Before taking abacavir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; 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: liver problems (such as hepatitis B or C, or cirrhosis), kidney problems, 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...

Read All Potential Precautions of Ziagen »

Last reviewed on RxList: 10/23/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Ziagen - User Reviews

Ziagen User Reviews

Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.

Here is a collection of user reviews for the medication Ziagen sorted by most helpful. Patient Discussions FAQs

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

WebMD Daily

Get breaking medical news.