This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.
- Unsafe and sometimes deadly allergic effects with organ failure may happen with this drug. Tell your child’s doctor about any fever, rash, feeling tired, upset stomach, throwing up, diarrhea, stomach pain, flu-like signs, sore throat, cough, or trouble breathing. Do not restart this drug if your child has had an allergic effect.
- The chance of allergic effects is raised in people who have a certain gene called HLA-B*5701. Do not give this drug to your child if your child has the HLA-B*5701 gene. The doctor will check your child for this gene before starting this drug. Talk with the doctor.
- Read the warning card and carry it with you at all times. It tells the signs to watch for in case an allergy happens.
- Hepatitis B has gotten worse when this drug was stopped in some people with hepatitis B. Close follow-up for a few months is needed when therapy is stopped in people who have hepatitis B. Do not stop giving this drug to your child without calling your child’s doctor.
- It is used to treat HIV infection.
- If your child is allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had.
- If your child has been tested and you know that your child has a gene type called HLA-B*5701.
- If your child has any of these health problems: Kidney disease or liver disease.
- If your child is taking any of these drugs: Dofetilide, etravirine, nevirapine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, or St. John’s wort.
- If your child is taking a drug that has sorbitol in it.
If your child is or may be sexually active:
- Talk with the doctor if your child is trying to get pregnant.
If your child is breast-feeding a baby:
- Be sure your child does not breast-feed a baby while taking this drug.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe to give this drug with all of your child’s other drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.
- Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- A higher chance of heart attack was seen in people who took abacavir. It is not known if abacavir caused this effect.
- Use care if your child has risks for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, high blood sugar or diabetes, cigarette smoking, other family members with early heart disease). Talk with the doctor.
- If this drug is stopped because your child has an allergy to it, do not restart it. Throw away any of this drug that your child has not taken. If you are not sure how to throw away unused drugs, check with your pharmacist.
- If this drug is stopped for any other reason, do not restart it without talking to the doctor. It could be very risky to restart on your own.
- Do not run out of this drug.
- Alcohol may interact with this drug. Be sure your child does not drink alcohol.
- This drug is not a cure for HIV. Be sure your child stays under the care of the doctor.
- This drug does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood. Be sure needles and other things like toothbrushes or razors are not shared.
- Rarely, this drug may cause a swollen liver and a buildup of acid in the blood. Sometimes, this may be deadly. The risk may be higher in females, in overweight people, and in people who have taken drugs like this one for a long time.
- Liver problems have happened with this drug. Sometimes, this has been very bad and a liver transplant has been needed. Talk with the doctor.
- If your child is of childbearing age, a pregnancy test may need to be done before starting this drug to show that your child is NOT pregnant.
If your child is or may be sexually active:
- This drug does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through having sex. Be sure your child does not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom.
- This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if your child takes it during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.
- Talk to the doctor about having your child use birth control to prevent pregnancy while taking this drug. If your child gets pregnant, call the doctor right away.
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of too much lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis) like fast breathing, fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, very bad upset stomach or throwing up, feeling very sleepy, shortness of breath, feeling very tired or weak, very bad dizziness, feeling cold, or muscle pain or cramps.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Dizziness or passing out.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Mouth sores.
- Eye irritation.
- Muscle pain or weakness.
- Joint pain.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Swollen gland.
- Changes in your child’s immune system can happen when your child starts taking drugs to treat HIV. If your child has an infection that you did not know was there, it may show up when your child takes this drug. Tell your child’s doctor right away if your child has any new signs after starting this drug, even after taking it for several months. This includes signs of infection like fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, or shortness of breath.
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:
- Trouble sleeping.
- Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.
Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Give this drug with or without food.
- Keep giving this drug to your child as you have been told by your child’s doctor or other health care provider, even if your child feels well.
- It is important that your child does not miss or skip a dose of this drug during treatment.
- If your child takes products that have iron, aluminum, calcium, magnesium, or zinc in them (like some antacids or vitamins), you may need to give them to your child at some other time than this drug. Talk with your child’s doctor or pharmacist.
- If your child takes other drugs, they may need to be given at a different time than this drug. Check with the doctor or pharmacist about the best time to give them.
- Give a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
- Do not give 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- If you are not sure what to do if your child misses a dose, call the doctor.
- Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Store in the original container. Do not take out the antimoisture cube or packet.
- Keep lid tightly closed.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
- Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
© 2022 UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.