"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"...
Serious and sometimes fatal hypersensitivity reactions have occurred with ZIAGEN (abacavir). These hypersensitivity reactions have included multi-organ failure and anaphylaxis and typically occurred within the first 6 weeks of treatment with ZIAGEN (median time to onset was 9 days); although abacavir hypersensitivity reactions have occurred any time during treatment [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Patients who carry the HLA-B*5701 allele are at a higher risk of abacavir hypersensitivity reactions; although, patients who do not carry the HLA-B*5701 allele have developed hypersensitivity reactions. Hypersensitivity to abacavir was reported in approximately 206 (8%) of 2,670 patients in 9 clinical trials with abacavir-containing products where HLA-B*5701 screening was not performed. The incidence of suspected abacavir hypersensitivity reactions in clinical trials was 1% when subjects carrying the HLA-B*5701 allele were excluded. In any patient treated with abacavir, the clinical diagnosis of hypersensitivity reaction must remain the basis of clinical decision making.
Due to the potential for severe, serious, and possibly fatal hypersensitivity reactions with ZIAGEN:
- 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.
- ZIAGEN is contraindicated in patients with a prior hypersensitivity reaction to abacavir and in HLA-B*5701-positive patients.
- Before starting ZIAGEN, review medical history for prior exposure to any abacavir-containing product. NEVER restart ZIAGEN or any other abacavir-containing product following a hypersensitivity reaction to abacavir, regardless of HLA-B*5701 status.
- To reduce the risk of a life-threatening hypersensitivity reaction, regardless of HLA-B*5701 status, discontinue ZIAGEN immediately if a hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, even when other diagnoses are possible (e.g., acute onset respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, pharyngitis, or influenza; gastroenteritis; or reactions to other medications).
- If a hypersensitivity reaction cannot be ruled out, do not restart ZIAGEN or any other abacavir-containing products because more severe symptoms which may include life-threatening hypotension and death, can occur within hours.
- If a hypersensitivity reaction is ruled out, patients may restart ZIAGEN. Rarely, patients who have stopped abacavir for reasons other than symptoms of hypersensitivity have also experienced life-threatening reactions within hours of reinitiating abacavir therapy. Therefore, reintroduction of ZIAGEN or any other abacavir-containing product is recommended only if medical care can be readily accessed.
- A Medication Guide and Warning Card that provide information about recognition of hypersensitivity reactions should be dispensed with each new prescription and refill.
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. A majority of these cases have been in women. Obesity and prolonged nucleoside exposure may be risk factors. Caution should be exercised when administering ZIAGEN to any patient with known risk factors for liver disease; however, cases have also been reported in patients with no known risk factors. Treatment with ZIAGEN should be suspended in any patient who develops clinical or laboratory findings suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity (which may include hepatomegaly and steatosis even in the absence of marked transaminase elevations).
Immune Reconstitution Syndrome
Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including ZIAGEN. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune systems respond may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections (such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia [PCP], or tuberculosis), which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.
Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barr syndrome) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution; however, the time to onset is more variable and can occur many months after initiation of treatment.
Redistribution/accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. The mechanism and long-term consequences of these events are currently unknown. A causal relationship has not been established.
In a published prospective, observational, epidemiological trial designed to investigate the rate of myocardial infarction (MI) in patients on combination antiretroviral therapy, the use of abacavir within the previous 6 months was correlated with an increased risk of MI. In a sponsor-conducted pooled analysis of clinical trials, no excess risk of MI was observed in abacavir-treated subjects as compared with control subjects. In totality, the available data from the observational cohort and from clinical trials are inconclusive.
As a precaution, the underlying risk of coronary heart disease should be considered when prescribing antiretroviral therapies, including abacavir, and action taken to minimize all modifiable risk factors (e.g., hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking).
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
- that a Medication Guide and Warning Card summarizing the symptoms of the abacavir hypersensitivity reaction and other product information will be dispensed by the pharmacist with each new prescription and refill of ZIAGEN, and instruct the patient to read the Medication Guide and Warning Card every time to obtain any new information that may be present about ZIAGEN. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
- to carry the Warning Card with them.
- how to identify a hypersensitivity reaction [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Medication Guide].
- that if they develop symptoms consistent with a hypersensitivity reaction they should call their healthcare provider right away to determine if they should stop taking ZIAGEN.
- that a hypersensitivity reaction can worsen and lead to hospitalization or death if ZIAGEN is not immediately discontinued.
- to not restart ZIAGEN or any other abacavir-containing product following a hypersensitivity reaction because more severe symptoms can occur within hours and may include life-threatening hypotension and death.
- that if they have a hypersensitivity reaction, they should dispose of any unused ZIAGEN to avoid restarting abacavir.
- that a hypersensitivity reaction is usually reversible if it is detected promptly and ZIAGEN is stopped right away.
- that if they have interrupted ZIAGEN for reasons other than symptoms of hypersensitivity (for example, those who have an interruption in drug supply), a serious or fatal hypersensitivity reaction may occur with reintroduction of abacavir.
- to not restart ZIAGEN or any other abacavir-containing product without medical consultation and only if medical care can be readily accessed by the patient or others.
Lactic Acidosis/Hepatomegaly With Steatosis
Advise patients that lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis have been reported with use of nucleoside analogues and other antiretrovirals. Advise patients to stop taking ZIAGEN if they develop clinical symptoms suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity [see BOXED WARNING, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Immune Reconstitution Syndrome
Advise patients to inform their healthcare provider immediately of any signs and symptoms of infection as inflammation from previous infection may occur soon after combination antiretroviral therapy, including when ZIAGEN is started [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Redistribution/Accumulation Of Body Fat
Inform patients that redistribution or accumulation of body fat may occur in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy and that the cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known at this time [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Advise patients that there is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to ZIAGEN during pregnancy [see Use in Specific Populations].
Instruct women with HIV-1 infection not to breastfeed because HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk [see Use in Specific Populations].
Instruct patients that if they miss a dose of ZIAGEN, to take it as soon as they remember. Advise patients not to double their next dose or take more than the prescribed dose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Availability of Medication Guide
Instruct patients to read the Medication Guide before starting ZIAGEN and to re-read it each time the prescription is renewed. Instruct patients to inform their physician or pharmacist if they develop any unusual symptom, or if any known symptom persists or worsens.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Abacavir was administered orally at 3 dosage levels to separate groups of mice and rats in 2-year carcinogenicity studies. Results showed an increase in the incidence of malignant and non-malignant tumors. Malignant tumors occurred in the preputial gland of males and the clitoral gland of females of both species, and in the liver of female rats. In addition, non-malignant tumors also occurred in the liver and thyroid gland of female rats. These observations were made at systemic exposures in the range of 6 to 32 times the human exposure at the recommended dose of 600 mg.
Abacavir induced chromosomal aberrations both in the presence and absence of metabolic activation in an in vitro cytogenetic study in human lymphocytes. Abacavir was mutagenic in the absence of metabolic activation, although it was not mutagenic in the presence of metabolic activation in an L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay. Abacavir was clastogenic in males and not clastogenic in females in an in vivo mouse bone marrow micronucleus assay.
Abacavir was not mutagenic in bacterial mutagenicity assays in the presence and absence of metabolic activation.
Impairment Of Fertility
Abacavir did not affect male or female fertility in rats at a dose associated with exposures (AUC) approximately 3.3 times (male) or 4.1 times (female) those in humans at the clinically recommended dose.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Exposure Registry
There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to ZIAGEN during pregnancy. Healthcare Providers are encouraged to register patients by calling the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry (APR) at 1-800-258-4263.
Available data from the APR show no difference in the overall risk of birth defects for abacavir compared with the background rate for birth defects of 2.7% in the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP) reference population [see Data]. The APR uses the MACDP as the U.S. reference population for birth defects in the general population. The MACDP evaluates women and infants from a limited geographic area and does not include outcomes for births that occurred at less than 20 weeks gestation. The rate of miscarriage is not reported in the APR. The estimated background rate of miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies in the U.S. general population is 15% to 20%. The background risk for major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown.
In animal reproduction studies, oral administration of abacavir to pregnant rats during organogenesis resulted in fetal malformations and other embryonic and fetal toxicities at exposures 35 times the human exposure (AUC) at the recommended clinical daily dose. However, no adverse developmental effects were observed following oral administration of abacavir to pregnant rabbits during organogenesis, at exposures approximately 9 times the human exposure (AUC) at the recommended clinical dose [see Data].
Human Data: Based on prospective reports to the APR of over 2,000 exposures to abacavir during pregnancy resulting in live births (including over 1,000 exposed in the first trimester), there was no difference between the overall risk of birth defects for abacavir compared with the background birth defect rate of 2.7% in the U.S. reference population of the MACDP. The prevalence of defects in live births was 2.9% (95% CI: 2.0% to 4.1%) following first trimester exposure to abacavir-containing regimens and 2.7% (95% CI: 1.9% to 3.7%) following second/third trimester exposure to abacavir-containing regimens.
Animal Data: Abacavir was administered orally to pregnant rats (at 100, 300, and 1,000 mg per kg per day) and rabbits (at 125, 350, or 700 mg per kg per day) during organogenesis (on gestation Days 6 through 17 and 6 through 20, respectively). Fetal malformations (increased incidences of fetal anasarca and skeletal malformations) or developmental toxicity (decreased fetal body weight and crown-rump length) were observed in rats at doses up to 1,000 mg per kg per day, resulting in exposures approximately 35 times the human exposure (AUC) at the recommended daily dose. No developmental effects were observed in rats at 100 mg per kg per day, resulting in exposures (AUC) 3.5 times the human exposure at the recommended daily dose. In a fertility and early embryo-fetal development study conducted in rats (at 60, 160, or 500 mg per kg per day), embryonic and fetal toxicities (increased resorptions, decreased fetal body weights) or toxicities to the offspring (increased incidence of stillbirth and lower body weights) occurred at doses up to 500 mg per kg per day. No developmental effects were observed in rats at 60 mg per kg per day, resulting in exposures (AUC) approximately 4 times the human exposure at the recommended daily dose. Studies in pregnant rats showed that abacavir is transferred to the fetus through the placenta. In pregnant rabbits, no developmental toxicities and no increases in fetal malformations occurred at up to the highest dose evaluated, resulting in exposures (AUC) approximately 9 times the human exposure at the recommended dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-1-infected mothers in the United States not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1 infection. Abacavir is present in human milk. There is no information on the effects of abacavir on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drug on milk production. Because of the potential for (1) HIV-1 transmission (in HIV-negative infants), (2) developing viral resistance (in HIV-positive infants), and (3) serious adverse reactions in a breastfed infant, instruct mothers not to breastfeed if they are receiving ZIAGEN.
The safety and effectiveness of ZIAGEN have been established in pediatric patients aged 3 months and older. Use of ZIAGEN is supported by pharmacokinetic trials and evidence from adequate and well-controlled trials of ZIAGEN in adults and pediatric subjects [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, ADVERSE REACTIONS, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies].
Clinical trials of ZIAGEN did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, caution should be exercised in the administration of ZIAGEN in elderly patients reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Patients With Impaired Hepatic Function
A dose reduction is required for patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A) [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. The safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir have not been established in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment; therefore, ZIAGEN is contraindicated in these patients [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/31/2017
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