"The National Institutes of Health has launched a clinical trial to assess the effects of aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins, on preventing cardiovascular disease in people with long-term HIV infections. This group, which includ"...
Mechanism of Action
Abacavir is an antiviral agent [See Microbiology].
Pharmacokinetics in Adults
The pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir have been studied in asymptomatic, HIV-1-infected adult subjects after administration of a single intravenous (IV) dose of 150 mg and after single and multiple oral doses. The pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir were independent of dose over the range of 300 to 1,200 mg/day.
Absorption and Bioavailability
Abacavir was rapidly and extensively absorbed after oral administration. The geometric mean absolute bioavailability of the tablet was 83%. After oral administration of 300 mg twice daily in 20 subjects, the steady-state peak serum abacavir concentration (Cmax) was 3.0 ± 0.89 mcg/mL (mean ± SD) and AUC(0-12 hr) was 6.02 ± 1.73 mcg•hr/mL. After oral administration of a single dose of 600 mg of abacavir in 20 subjects, Cmax was 4.26 ± 1.19 mcg/mL (mean ± SD) and AUC∞ was 11.95 ± 2.51 mcg•hr/mL.
The apparent volume of distribution after IV administration of abacavir was 0.86 ± 0.15 L/kg, suggesting that abacavir distributes into extravascular space. In 3 subjects, the CSF AUC(0-6 hr) to plasma abacavir AUC(0-6 hr) ratio ranged from 27% to 33%.
Binding of abacavir to human plasma proteins is approximately 50%. Binding of abacavir to plasma proteins was independent of concentration. Total blood and plasma drug-related radioactivity concentrations are identical, demonstrating that abacavir readily distributes into erythrocytes.
In humans, abacavir is not significantly metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes. The primary routes of elimination of abacavir are metabolism by alcohol dehydrogenase (to form the 5'-carboxylic acid) and glucuronyl transferase (to form the 5'-glucuronide). The metabolites do not have antiviral activity. In vitro experiments reveal that abacavir does not inhibit human CYP3A4, CYP2D6, or CYP2C9 activity at clinically relevant concentrations.
Elimination of abacavir was quantified in a mass balance trial following administration of a 600-mg dose of 14C-abacavir: 99% of the radioactivity was recovered, 1.2% was excreted in the urine as abacavir, 30% as the 5'-carboxylic acid metabolite, 36% as the 5'-glucuronide metabolite, and 15% as unidentified minor metabolites in the urine. Fecal elimination accounted for 16% of the dose.
In single-dose trials, the observed elimination half-life (t½) was 1.54 ± 0.63 hours. After intravenous administration, total clearance was 0.80 ± 0.24 L/hr/kg (mean ± SD).
Effects of Food on Oral Absorption: Bioavailability of abacavir tablets was assessed in the fasting and fed states. There was no significant difference in systemic exposure (AUC∞) in the fed and fasting states; therefore, ZIAGEN Tablets may be administered with or without food. Systemic exposure to abacavir was comparable after administration of ZIAGEN Oral Solution and ZIAGEN Tablets. Therefore, these products may be used interchangeably.
Renal Impairment: The pharmacokinetic properties of ZIAGEN have not been determined in patients with impaired renal function. Renal excretion of unchanged abacavir is a minor route of elimination in humans.
Hepatic Impairment: The pharmacokinetics of abacavir have been studied in subjects with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score 5 to 6). Results showed that there was a mean increase of 89% in the abacavir AUC and an increase of 58% in the half-life of abacavir after a single dose of 600 mg of abacavir. The AUCs of the metabolites were not modified by mild liver disease; however, the rates of formation and elimination of the metabolites were decreased. A dose of 200 mg (provided by 10 mL of ZIAGEN Oral Solution) administered twice daily is recommended for patients with mild liver disease. The safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of abacavir have not been studied in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment; therefore, ZIAGEN is contraindicated in these patients.
Pediatric Patients: The pharmacokinetics of abacavir have been studied after either single or repeat doses of ZIAGEN in 68 pediatric subjects. Following multiple-dose administration of ZIAGEN 8 mg/kg twice daily, steady-state AUC(0-12 hr) and Cmax were 9.8 ± 4.56 mcg•hr/mL and 3.71 ± 1.36 mcg/mL (mean ± SD), respectively [see Use in Specific Populations]. In addition, to support dosing of ZIAGEN scored tablet (300 mg) for pediatric patients 14 kg to greater than 30 kg, analysis of actual and simulated pharmacokinetic data indicated comparable exposures are expected following administration of 300 mg scored tablet and the 8 mg/kg dosing regimen using oral solution.
Geriatric Patients: The pharmacokinetics of ZIAGEN have not been studied in patients over 65 years of age.
Gender: A population pharmacokinetic analysis in HIV-1-infected male (n = 304) and female (n = 67) subjects showed no gender differences in abacavir AUC normalized for lean body weight.
Race: There are no significant differences between blacks and Caucasians in abacavir pharmacokinetics.
In human liver microsomes, abacavir did not inhibit cytochrome P450 isoforms (2C9, 2D6, 3A4). Based on these data, it is unlikely that clinically significant drug interactions will occur between abacavir and drugs metabolized through these pathways.
Lamivudine and/or Zidovudine: Due to the common metabolic pathways of abacavir and zidovudine via glucuronyl transferase, 15 HIV-1-infected subjects were enrolled in a crossover trial evaluating single doses of abacavir (600 mg), lamivudine (150 mg), and zidovudine (300 mg) alone or in combination. Analysis showed no clinically relevant changes in the pharmacokinetics of abacavir with the addition of lamivudine or zidovudine or the combination of lamivudine and zidovudine. Lamivudine exposure (AUC decreased 15%) and zidovudine exposure (AUC increased 10%) did not show clinically relevant changes with concurrent abacavir.
Ethanol: Due to the common metabolic pathways of abacavir and ethanol via alcohol dehydrogenase, the pharmacokinetic interaction between abacavir and ethanol was studied in 24 HIV-1-infected male subjects. Each subject received the following treatments on separate occasions: a single 600-mg dose of abacavir, 0.7 g/kg ethanol (equivalent to 5 alcoholic drinks), and abacavir 600 mg plus 0.7 g/kg ethanol. Coadministration of ethanol and abacavir resulted in a 41% increase in abacavir AUC∞ and a 26% increase in abacavir t½. In males, abacavir had no effect on the pharmacokinetic properties of ethanol, so no clinically significant interaction is expected in men. This interaction has not been studied in females.
Methadone: In a trial of 11 HIV-1-infected subjects receiving methadone-maintenance therapy (40 mg and 90 mg daily), with 600 mg of ZIAGEN twice daily (twice the currently recommended dose), oral methadone clearance increased 22% (90% CI: 6% to 42%). This alteration will not result in a methadone dose modification in the majority of patients; however, an increased methadone dose may be required in a small number of patients. The addition of methadone had no clinically significant effect on the pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir.
Abacavir is a carbocyclic synthetic nucleoside analogue. Abacavir is converted by cellular enzymes to the active metabolite, carbovir triphosphate (CBV-TP), an analogue of deoxyguanosine-5'-triphosphate (dGTP). CBV-TP inhibits the activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) both by competing with the natural substrate dGTP and by its incorporation into viral DNA. The lack of a 3'-OH group in the incorporated nucleotide analogue prevents the formation of the 5' to 3' phosphodiester linkage essential for DNA chain elongation, and therefore, the viral DNA growth is terminated. CBV-TP is a weak inhibitor of cellular DNA polymerases α, β, and γ.
The antiviral activity of abacavir against HIV-1 was evaluated against a T-cell tropic laboratory strain HIV-1IIIB in lymphoblastic cell lines, a monocyte/macrophage tropic laboratory strain HIV-1BaL in primary monocytes/macrophages, and clinical isolates in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The concentration of drug necessary to effect viral replication by 50 percent (EC50) ranged from 3.7 to 5.8 μM (1 μM = 0.28 mcg/mL) and 0.07 to 1.0 μM against HIV-1IIIB and HIV-1BaL, respectively, and was 0.26 ± 0.18 μM against 8 clinical isolates. The EC50 values of abacavir against different HIV-1 clades (A-G) ranged from 0.0015 to 1.05 μM, and against HIV-2 isolates, from 0.024 to 0.49 μM. The antiviral activity of abacavir in cell culture was not antagonized when combined with the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) didanosine, emtricitabine, lamivudine, stavudine, tenofovir, zalcitabine or zidovudine, the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) nevirapine, or the protease inhibitor (PI) amprenavir. Ribavirin (50 μM) had no effect on the anti–HIV-1 activity of abacavir in cell culture.
HIV-1 isolates with reduced susceptibility to abacavir have been selected in cell culture and were also obtained from subjects treated with abacavir. Genotypic analysis of isolates selected in cell culture and recovered from abacavir-treated subjects demonstrated that amino acid substitutions K65R, L74V, Y115F, and M184V/I in RT contributed to abacavir resistance. In a trial of therapy-naive adults receiving ZIAGEN 600 mg once daily (n = 384) or 300 mg twice daily (n = 386), in a background regimen of lamivudine 300 mg once daily and efavirenz 600 mg once daily (CNA30021), the incidence of virologic failure at 48 weeks was similar between the 2 groups (11% in both arms). Genotypic (n = 38) and phenotypic analyses (n = 35) of virologic failure isolates from this trial showed that the RT substitutions that emerged during abacavir once-daily and twice-daily therapy were K65R, L74V, Y115F, and M184V/I. The substitution M184V/I was the most commonly observed substitution in virologic failure isolates from subjects receiving abacavir once daily (56%, 10/18) and twice daily (40%, 8/20).
Thirty-nine percent (7/18) of the isolates from subjects who experienced virologic failure in the abacavir once-daily arm had a greater than 2.5-fold decrease in abacavir susceptibility with a median-fold decrease of 1.3 (range: 0.5 to 11) compared with 29% (5/17) of the failure isolates in the twice-daily arm with a median-fold decrease of 0.92 (range: 0.7 to 13).
Cross-resistance has been observed among NRTIs. Isolates containing abacavir resistance-associated substitutions, namely, K65R, L74V, Y115F, and M184V, exhibited cross-resistance to didanosine, emtricitabine, lamivudine, tenofovir, and zalcitabine in cell culture and in subjects. The K65R substitution can confer resistance to abacavir, didanosine, emtricitabine, lamivudine, stavudine, tenofovir, and zalcitabine; the L74V substitution can confer resistance to abacavir, didanosine, and zalcitabine; and the M184V substitution can confer resistance to abacavir, didanosine, emtricitabine, lamivudine, and zalcitabine. An increasing number of thymidine analogue mutations (TAMs: M41L, D67N, K70R, L210W, T215Y/F, K219E/R/H/Q/N) is associated with a progressive reduction in abacavir susceptibility.
Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology
Myocardial degeneration was found in mice and rats following administration of abacavir for 2 years. The systemic exposures were equivalent to 7 to 24 times the expected systemic exposure in humans. The clinical relevance of this finding has not been determined.
CNA30024 was a multicenter, double-blind, controlled trial in which 649 HIV-1-infected, therapy-naive adults were randomized and received either ZIAGEN (300 mg twice daily), lamivudine (150 mg twice daily), and efavirenz (600 mg once daily); or zidovudine (300 mg twice daily), lamivudine (150 mg twice daily), and efavirenz (600 mg once daily). The duration of double-blind treatment was at least 48 weeks. Trial participants were male (81%), Caucasian (51%), black (21%), and Hispanic (26%). The median age was 35 years; the median pretreatment CD4+ cell count was 264 cells/mm³, and median plasma HIV-1 RNA was 4.79 log10 copies/mL. The outcomes of randomized treatment are provided in Table 7.
Table 7: Outcomes of Randomized Treatment Through Week
|Outcome||ZIAGEN plus Lamivudine plus Efavirenz
(n = 324)
|Zidovudine plus Lamivudine plus Efavirenz
(n = 325)
|Respondera||69% (73%)||69% (71%)|
|Discontinued due to adverse reactions||14%||16%|
|Discontinued due to other reasonsc||10%||11%|
|aSubjects achieved and maintained confirmed HIV-1 RNA
≤ 50 copies/mL ( < 400 copies/mL) through Week 48 (Roche AMPLICOR
Ultrasensitive HIV-1 MONITOR® standard test 1.0 PCR).
bIncludes viral rebound, insufficient viral response according to the investigator, and failure to achieve confirmed ≤ 50 copies/mL by Week 48.
cIncludes consent withdrawn, lost to follow up, protocol violations, those with missing data, clinical progression, and other.
After 48 weeks of therapy, the median CD4+ cell count increases from baseline were 209 cells/mm³ in the group receiving ZIAGEN and 155 cells/mm³ in the zidovudine group. Through Week 48, 8 subjects (2%) in the group receiving ZIAGEN (5 CDC classification C events and 3 deaths) and 5 subjects (2%) on the zidovudine arm (3 CDC classification C events and 2 deaths) experienced clinical disease progression.
CNA3005 was a multicenter, double-blind, controlled trial in which 562 HIV-1-infected, therapy-naive adults were randomized to receive either ZIAGEN (300 mg twice daily) plus COMBIVIR® (lamivudine 150 mg/zidovudine 300 mg twice daily), or indinavir (800 mg 3 times a day) plus COMBIVIR twice daily. The trial was stratified at randomization by pre-entry plasma HIV-1 RNA 10,000 to 100,000 copies/mL and plasma HIV-1 RNA greater than 100,000 copies/mL. Trial participants were male (87%), Caucasian (73%), black (15%), and Hispanic (9%). At baseline the median age was 36 years; the median baseline CD4+ cell count was 360 cells/mm³, and median baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA was 4.8 log10 copies/mL. Proportions of subjects with plasma HIV-1 RNA less than 400 copies/mL (using Roche AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test) through 48 weeks of treatment are summarized in Table 8.
Table 8: Outcomes of Randomized Treatment Through Week
|Outcome||ZIAGEN plus Lamivudine/Zidovudine
(n = 262)
|Indinavir plus Lamivudine/Zidovudine
(n = 265)
|Discontinued due to adverse reactions||10%||12%|
|Discontinued due to other reasonsc||11%||10%|
|aSubjects achieved and maintained confirmed HIV-1 RNA
< 400 copies/mL.
bIncludes viral rebound and failure to achieve confirmed < 400 copies/mL by Week 48.
cIncludes consent withdrawn, lost to follow up, protocol violations, those with missing data, clinical progression, and other.
Treatment response by plasma HIV-1 RNA strata is shown in Table 9.
Table 9: Proportions of
Responders Through Week 48 By Screening Plasma HIV-1 RNA Levels (CNA3005)
|Screening HIV-1 RNA (copies/mL)||ZIAGEN plus Lamivudine/ Zidovudine
(n = 262)
|Indinavir plus Lamivudine/ Zidovudine
(n = 265)
|< 400 copies/mL||n||< 400 copies/mL||n|
|≥ 10,000 - ≤ 100,000||50%||166||48%||165|
In subjects with baseline viral load greater than 100,000 copies/mL, percentages of subjects with HIV-1 RNA levels less than 50 copies/mL were 31% in the group receiving abacavir versus 45% in the group receiving indinavir.
Through Week 48, an overall mean increase in CD4+ cell count of about 150 cells/mm³ was observed in both treatment arms. Through Week 48, 9 subjects (3.4%) in the group receiving abacavir sulfate (6 CDC classification C events and 3 deaths) and 3 subjects (1.5%) in the group receiving indinavir (2 CDC classification C events and 1 death) experienced clinical disease progression.
CNA30021 was an international, multicenter, double-blind, controlled trial in which 770 HIV-1-infected, therapy-naive adults were randomized and received either abacavir 600 mg once daily or abacavir 300 mg twice daily, both in combination with lamivudine 300 mg once daily and efavirenz 600 mg once daily. The double-blind treatment duration was at least 48 weeks. Trial participants had a mean age of 37 years; were male (81%), Caucasian (54%), black (27%), and American Hispanic (15%). The median baseline CD4+ cell count was 262 cells/mm³ (range 21 to 918 cells/mm³) and the median baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA was 4.89 log10 copies/mL (range: 2.60 to 6.99 log10 copies/mL). The outcomes of randomized treatment are provided in Table 10.
Table 10: Outcomes of
Randomized Treatment Through Week 48 (CNA30021)
|Outcome||ZIAGEN 600 mg q.d. plus EPIVIR plus Efavirenz
(n = 384)
|ZIAGEN 300 mg b.i.d. plus EPIVIR plus Efavirenz
(n = 386)
|Respondera||64% (71%)||65% (72%)|
|Virologic failureb||11% (5%)||11% (5%)|
|Discontinued due to adverse reactions||13%||11%|
|Discontinued due to other reasonsc||11%||13%|
|aSubjects achieved and maintained confirmed HIV-1 RNA < 50
copies/mL ( < 400 copies/mL) through Week 48 (Roche AMPLICOR Ultrasensitive
HIV-1 MONITOR standard test version 1.0).
bIncludes viral rebound, failure to achieve confirmed < 50 copies/mL ( < 400 copies/mL) by Week 48, and insufficient viral load response.
cIncludes consent withdrawn, lost to follow up, protocol violations, clinical progression, and other.
After 48 weeks of therapy, the median CD4+ cell count increases from baseline were 188 cells/mm³ in the group receiving abacavir 600 mg once daily and 200 cells/mm³ in the group receiving abacavir 300 mg twice daily. Through Week 48, 6 subjects (2%) in the group receiving ZIAGEN 600 mg once daily (4 CDC classification C events and 2 deaths) and 10 subjects (3%) in the group receiving ZIAGEN 300 mg twice daily (7 CDC classification C events and 3 deaths) experienced clinical disease progression. None of the deaths were attributed to trial medications.
Therapy-Experienced Pediatric Subjects
CNA3006 was a randomized, double-blind trial comparing ZIAGEN 8 mg/kg twice daily plus lamivudine 4 mg/kg twice daily plus zidovudine 180 mg/m² twice daily versus lamivudine 4 mg/kg twice daily plus zidovudine 180 mg/m² twice daily. Two hundred and five therapy-experienced pediatric subjects were enrolled: female (56%), Caucasian (17%), black (50%), Hispanic (30%), median age of 5.4 years, baseline CD4+ cell percent greater than 15% (median = 27%), and median baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA of 4.6 log10 copies/mL. Eighty percent and 55% of subjects had prior therapy with zidovudine and lamivudine, respectively, most often in combination. The median duration of prior nucleoside analogue therapy was 2 years. At 16 weeks the proportion of subjects responding based on plasma HIV-1 RNA less than or equal to 400 copies/mL was significantly higher in subjects receiving ZIAGEN plus lamivudine plus zidovudine compared with subjects receiving lamivudine plus zidovudine, 13% versus 2%, respectively. Median plasma HIV-1 RNA changes from baseline were -0.53 log10 copies/mL in the group receiving ZIAGEN plus lamivudine plus zidovudine compared with -0.21 log10 copies/mL in the group receiving lamivudine plus zidovudine. Median CD4+ cell count increases from baseline were 69 cells/mm³ in the group receiving ZIAGEN plus lamivudine plus zidovudine and 9 cells/mm³ in the group receiving lamivudine plus zidovudine.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/25/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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