An Overview of Epzicom (Abacavir/3TC, Kivexa)
September 2, 2016
Brand Name: Epzicom
Epzicom can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include allergic reactions, lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid in the blood), and liver problems.
People who take abacavir, an HIV medicine included in Epzicom, may have a serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction) that can cause death. Your risk of this allergic reaction is much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Your health care provider can determine with a blood test if you have this gene variation. If you get a symptom from two or more of the following groups while taking Epzicom, contact your health care provider right away to find out if you should stop taking Epzicom.
Your pharmacist will give you a Warning Card with a list of these symptoms. Carry this Warning Card with you at all times. If you stop taking Epzicom due to an allergic reaction, never take Epzicom or any other abacavir-containing medicine again; if you do, life-threatening symptoms (including very low blood pressure) or death may occur within hours. If you stop Epzicom for any other reason, even for a few days, and you are not allergic to Epzicom, talk with your health care provider before taking it again. Taking Epzicom again can cause a serious allergic or life-threatening reaction, even if you did not have an allergic reaction to it before. If your health care provider tells you that you can take Epzicom again, start taking it when you are around medical help or people who can call a health care provider if you need one.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of lactic acidosis:
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of serious liver problems:
Epzicom is not approved for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. If you have both HIV and HBV infection and take Epzicom, your HBV infection may get worse (flare up) if you stop taking Epzicom.
Worsening of liver disease (sometimes resulting in death) has occurred in people infected with both HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) who are taking HIV medicines and are also being treated for HCV with interferon with or without ribavirin. If you are taking Epzicom as well as interferon with or without ribavirin and you experience new side effects, tell your health care provider.
Epzicom may increase the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction).
While taking Epzicom, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
What Is Epzicom?
Epzicom is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children who weigh at least 55 pounds (25 kg). Epzicom is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.
Epzicom contains the following two different medicines combined in one pill:
Both of the medicines in Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine) belong to a class (group) of HIV drugs called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). NRTIs block an HIV enzyme called reverse transcriptase. (An enzyme is a protein that starts or increases the speed of a chemical reaction.) By blocking reverse transcriptase, the two drugs in combination prevent HIV from multiplying and can reduce the amount of HIV in the body.
HIV medicines can't cure HIV/AIDS, but taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV regimen) every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
What Should I Tell My Health Care Provider Before Taking Epzicom?
Before taking Epzicom, tell your health care provider:
How Should I Take Epzicom?
Epzicom comes in tablet form. Each tablet contains:
Take Epzicom according to your health care provider's instructions.
Take Epzicom with or without food. Do not skip doses.
Always take Epzicom in combination with other HIV medicines.
Don't run out of Epzicom. Refill your prescription when your supply gets low.
If you take too much Epzicom, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
For more information on how to take Epzicom, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)
No Increased Resistance With Once-Daily Dosing of Abacavir and 3TC Than Twice-Daily Dosing in the ARROW Trial
This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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