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- What is abacavir, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for abacavir?
- Is abacavir available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for abacavir?
- What are the side effects of abacavir?
- What is the dosage for abacavir?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with abacavir?
- Is abacavir safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about abacavir?
What is abacavir, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Abacavir is an oral medication that is used for the treatment of infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is in a class of drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors which also includes zalcitabine (Hivid), zidovudine (Retrovir), didanosine (Videx), lamivudine (Epivir), emtricitabine (Emtriva), and stavudine (Zerit). During infection with HIV, the HIV virus multiplies within the body's cells. The newly-formed viruses then are released from the cells and spread throughout the body where they infect other cells. In this manner, the infection continually spreads to new, uninfected cells that the body is continually producing, and HIV infection is perpetuated. When producing new viruses, the HIV virus must manufacture new DNA for each virus. Reverse transcriptase is the enzyme that the virus uses to form this new DNA. Specifically, abacavir is converted within the body to its active form (carbovir triphosphate). This active form is similar to a compound (deoxyguanosine triphosphate), a chemical that is required by the HIV virus to make new DNA. The reverse transcriptase uses carbovir triphosphate instead of deoxyguanosine triphosphate for making DNA, and it is the carbovir triphosphate that interferes with the reverse transcriptase. Abacavir does not kill existing HIV virus, and it is not a cure for HIV. The FDA approved abacavir in December 1998.
What brand names are available for abacavir?
Is abacavir available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: No
Do I need a prescription for abacavir?
What are the side effects of abacavir?
The most common side effects are:
- allergic reactions,
- loss of appetite,
- difficulty sleeping,
- muscle pain,
- increased triglyceride levels,
- depression, and
The most serious side effects are severe allergic reactions, pancreatitis, liver failure, and metabolic disturbance (lactic acidosis). Symptoms of an allergic reaction include skin rash, fever, weakness, swelling and difficulty breathing. Abacavir must be stopped as soon an allergic reaction is suspected, and it should not be restarted after an allergic reaction.
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