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[×] Entry inhibitors
 BRAND NAMES
- Canada: Kivexa Product Monograph / Monographie
- Europe: Kivexa EPAR summary for the public, Prescribing Information
- Italy: Kivexa
- U.S.: Epzicom PI
 COMBINATION FORMULATIONS
 MECHANISM OF ACTION
Both active substances, abacavir and lamivudine, are nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Reverse transcriptase is an enzyme produced by HIV viruses that allows them to reverse-transcribe their RNA genomes into DNA, which is then integrated into the host genome and replicated along with it.
Abacavir/Lamivudine is used in combination with at least one other antiviral medicine to treat patients over 12 years old who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), This drug reduces the amount of HIV in the blood and keeps it at a low level and may delay the damage to the immune system and the development of infections and diseases associated with AIDS.
Abacavir/Lamivudine is taken as one tablet (600 mg of abacavir and 300 mg of lamivudine) once a day. It should only be given to patients who weigh over 40 kg.
Hepatic impairment: It must not be used in patients who have severe problems with their liver.
 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
- HLA-B*5701 allele: Before starting treatment with Abacavir/Lamivudine, all patients should have a test to find out if they have a gene called ‘HLA-B (type 5701)’. Patients with this gene are at an increased risk of having an allergic reaction to abacavir, so they should only take Abacavir/Lamivudine if there are no other treatment options. This test is also recommended in patients who have tolerated abacavir in the past and who are about to start taking it again.
- Lactic acidosis: Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogues
 SIDE EFFECTS
The most common side effects with Abacavir/Lamivudine (seen in between 1 and 10 patients in 100) are hypersensitivity (allergic reactions), rash, nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache, arthralgia (joint pain), muscle disorders, cough, nasal symptoms (nose problems, such as irritation and runny nose), fever, lethargy (lack of energy), fatigue (tiredness), insomnia (difficulty sleeping), malaise (feeling unwell), loss of appetite and alopecia (hair loss).
For the full list of all side effects reported with Abacavir/Lamivudine , see the package leaflet.
Hypersensitivity reactions occur in about 3% of patients taking Abacavir/Lamivudine, usually within the first six weeks of treatment, and can be life-threatening. The risk of hypersensitivity is higher in patients who have the HLA-B (type 5701) gene. Symptoms almost always include fever or rash, but also very commonly include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, dyspnoea (difficulty breathing), cough, lethargy, malaise, headache, signs of liver damage in the blood and myalgia (muscle pain).
Patients treated with Abacavir/Lamivudine receive a card detailing these symptoms so that they are aware of them, and must contact their doctor immediately if they develop a reaction.