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An Overview of Ziagen (Abacavir)

August 23, 2013

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How should I take abacavir?

Abacavir comes in two forms:

  • 300-mg tablets (brand name: Ziagen).
  • 20-mg/mL oral solution (a strawberry- and banana-flavored liquid, brand name: Ziagen).

Take abacavir according to your health care provider's instructions.

Take abacavir with or without food.

Always take abacavir in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

Children 3 months of age and older can also take abacavir. The child's health care provider will decide the right dose and whether the child should take the tablet or liquid, based on the child's weight. The dose should not be more than the recommended adult dose.

If you take too much abacavir, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

For more information on how to take abacavir, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)

What should I do if I forget a dose?


Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose. If you miss several doses of abacavir, call your health care provider before taking abacavir again.

What side effects can abacavir cause?

Abacavir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include allergic reactions, lactic acidosis (buildup of acid in the blood), and liver problems. (See the WARNING above.)

Other possible side effects of abacavir include:

  • Changes in the immune system (immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome).
  • Changes in body fat (lipodystrophy).

Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of abacavir. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for more information on possible side effects of abacavir.

How should abacavir be stored?

  • Store abacavir at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Do not freeze abacavir. Abacavir oral solution may be refrigerated.
  • Safely throw away abacavir that is no longer needed or expired (out of date).
  • Keep abacavir and all medicines out of reach of children.

Where can I find more information about abacavir?

More information about abacavir is available:

Manufacturer Information


The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Solution, tablet (film coated).

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This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
See Also
More on HIV Medications
More on Ziagen (Abacavir)