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HEPPigram: Management of the Abacavir Hypersensitivity Syndrome (AHS)

January 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Approximately 3%-5% of patients who are on Abacavir (ABC) antiretroviral therapy experience what is known as the Abacavir Hypersensitivity Syndrome (AHS) within the first six weeks of therapy. It is important to counsel patients about AHS before they begin treatment and to contact medical staff immediately if symptoms should occur within the first six weeks of treatment. Additionally, they should be counseled NOT to discontinue the medication on their own, as it would confuse later decision making. This algorithm describes the management of AHS.


Management of the Abacavir Hypersensitivity Syndrome (AHS)


It is important NOT to stop the ABC when symptoms first appear, without further investigation as described above, as they are indistinguishable from a viral syndrome. Because AHS is not dangerous if detected early, clinicians can have the opportunity to follow the patient and determine if the patient's symptoms disappear. If, on the other hand, the ABC is stopped before confirmation of AHS, it could preclude the use of a truly potent antiretroviral that the patient might need in the future. Unfortunately, once stopped in the event of symptoms, ABC can never be used again.


Back to the HEPP News January 2002 contents page.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Brown Medical School. It is a part of the publication HEPP News.
 
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