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Ziagen is an antiretroviral medication used in combination with other antiviral medicines to treat patients who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Ziagen contains the active ingredient abacavir sulfate and works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the body, allowing the immune system to function better.
While Ziagen can be an effective treatment for HIV, it is not a cure and cannot prevent the transmission of the virus to others. Follow the prescribed regimen exactly as directed and use additional precautions to prevent the spread of HIV.
Use and Dosage
Ziagen is typically taken in tablet form by mouth, with or without food, as directed by a healthcare provider, usually 1 or 2 times daily. Swallow the medication or drink a glass of water right after.
The dosage prescribed will depend on medical condition and response to treatment, with the dosage for children also based on weight. Continue taking Ziagen as prescribed by a healthcare provider, without skipping doses, or increasing the dose or frequency of use without approval from a healthcare provider. Stopping or changing the dose of Ziagen, or other HIV medications, may increase the amount of virus in the body, make the infection more difficult to treat or worsen side effects.
To ensure the medication is effective, it should be taken at evenly spaced times every day. A healthcare provider should be consulted for more detailed instructions on how to take Ziagen safely and effectively.
If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible, but if it is almost time for the next scheduled dose, the missed dose should be skipped, and the regular dosing schedule should resume. Care should be taken to never double up on doses to make up for a missed dose. Refilling the medication before it runs out is important, and treatment with Ziagen should not be stopped or restarted without consulting with a healthcare provider.
Common Side Effects of Ziagen (Abacavir Sulphate):
- Feeling tired
- Headache, tiredness, fever, chills, general ill feeling
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sleep problems, strange dreams
- Stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, ear pain
Serious Side Effects of Ziagen (Abacavir Sulphate):
- Chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder
- Clay-colored stools
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Menstrual changes, impotence
- Problems with balance or eye movement
- Severe upper stomach pain
- Signs of a new infection: fever, night sweats, swollen glands, cold sores, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, weight loss
- Swelling around your midsection
- Swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid)
- Trouble speaking or swallowing
- Unusual tiredness
- Weakness or prickly feeling
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
Forms and Strength
Ziagen (Abacavir Sulphate) is available in the following forms and strength:
Abacavir Sulphate: Tablet
- 300 mg
- Hypersensitivity reactions: Serious and sometimes fatal hypersensitivity reactions have been reported with Ziagen. Patients should be advised to seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as fever, rash, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or respiratory symptoms.
- Lactic acidosis: Lactic acidosis, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, has been reported in patients taking Ziagen. Patients should be advised to seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as weakness, tiredness, muscle pain, or difficulty breathing.
- Hepatic impairment: Ziagen should be used with caution in patients with hepatic impairment, as it may increase the risk of adverse reactions.
- Renal impairment: Ziagen should be used with caution in patients with renal impairment, as it may increase the risk of adverse reactions.
- Immune reconstitution syndrome: Patients with advanced HIV infection who receive Ziagen in combination with other antiretroviral agents may develop symptoms of immune reconstitution syndrome, a condition where the immune system responds to an infection with an exaggerated inflammatory reaction.
- Cardiovascular disease: There have been reports of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in some patients with underlying cardiovascular disease who received Ziagen in combination with other antiretroviral agents.
- Risk of transmission: Ziagen does not prevent the transmission of HIV to others. Patients should continue to practice safe sex and take other precautions to prevent infection.
- Use in pregnancy: The safety of Ziagen in pregnant women is not well established, and it should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits outweigh the risks.
- Use during breastfeeding: It is not known if Ziagen is excreted in breast milk, and women who are breastfeeding should use caution when taking this medication.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Ziagen safe for use in children?
Ziagen is approved for use in children aged three months and older. The appropriate dosage will depend on the patient's weight and should be determined by a healthcare provider.
Can Ziagen be taken in combination with other medications?
Yes, Ziagen is often taken in combination with other antiretroviral medications as part of a complete treatment regimen for HIV. However, consult with a healthcare provider to ensure that the combination of medications is safe and effective.
How should Ziagen be stored?
Ziagen should be stored at room temperature, between 68- and 77-degrees Fahrenheit. It should be kept in its original container with the cap tightly closed and kept out of reach of children.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Ziagen?
If you miss a dose of Ziagen, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
It's important to purchase Ziagen from verified Canadian pharmacy.