It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
This medicine may cause severe allergic reactions (including multi-organ failure) in some patients. This reaction usually occurs within 6 weeks after the medicine is started, but may occur at any time. If untreated, it can lead to severe low blood pressure and even death. Check with your doctor right away if you have sudden fever, skin rash, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, or a feeling of unusual tiredness or illness, cough, trouble breathing, sore throat, lightheadedness, dizziness, or yellow skin or eyes.
When you begin using this medicine, you will be given a Warning Card which describes symptoms of severe allergic reactions that may be caused by abacavir and lamivudine combination. The warning card also provides information about how to treat these allergic reactions. For your safety, you should carry the warning card with you at all times.
If you must stop using abacavir because of an allergic reaction, you should never use the medicine again. Return the unused medicine to your doctor or pharmacist. A worse reaction, possibly even death, can occur if you use the medicine again. Tell your doctor right away if you have ever taken abacavir, especially if you have experienced an allergic reaction to it in the past.
Two rare but serious reactions to this medicine are lactic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) and liver toxicity, which includes an enlarged liver. These are more common if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking anti-HIV medicines for a long time. Call your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms: abdominal or stomach discomfort or cramping, dark urine, decreased appetite, diarrhea, general feeling of discomfort, light-colored stools, muscle cramping or pain, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, trouble breathing, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin.
Your immune system may get stronger when you start using HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, or may result in a flare-up of a hidden autoimmune disorder such as Graves disease, polymyositis, or Guillain-Barré syndrome.
This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area, or a loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face.
This medicine may increase your risk of having a heart attack. This is more likely to occur if you already have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or fats in the blood, or if you smoke.
This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex such as using latex condoms, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles, toothbrushes, and razor blades with anyone.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.