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Abacavir may cause a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction. Call your doctor immediately if you develop one symptom from two or more of the following groups to see if you should stop taking abacavir:
- Group 1: fever
- Group 2: rash
- Group 3: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach area pain
- Group 4: generally ill feeling, extreme tiredness, or achiness
- Group 5: shortness of breath, cough, or sore throat
Your pharmacist will give you a Warning Card when you receive your medication to carry with you. The Warning Card contains the symptoms listed above.
Some people may be more likely to have an allergic reaction to abacavir based on their heredity or genetic make-up. Your doctor may order a genetic lab test prior to starting abacavir or if you not been previously tested to determine if you are more likely to have an allergic reaction to this medication. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to abacavir or any other medications that contain abacavir or if you have a particular gene variation. If you have ever had a previous allergic reaction to abacavir or any other medication containing abacavir. your doctor will probably tell you not to take abacavir. If your doctor tells you to stop taking abacavir because you had an allergic reaction, never take abacavir or a medication containing abacavir again. If you stop taking abacavir for any other reason, including missing several doses in a row or running out of medication, do not start taking it again without first talking to your doctor. You will need to be around people who can provide or call for emergency medical care, if needed, when you restart this medication.
Abacavir may cause serious liver damage and a condition called lactic acidosis (buildup of acid in the blood) that may be life-threatening. Tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol and if you have or have ever had liver disease, including hepatitis B or C. If you have liver disease. your doctor will probably tell you not to take abacavir. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: shortness of breath; fast breathing; changes in heartbeat; nausea; vomiting; loss of appetite; pain, aching, swelling, or tenderness on your right side just below your ribs; muscle pain; dizziness or lightheadedness; yellowing of the skin or eyes; dark-colored urine; light-colored bowel movements; or extreme tiredness.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to abacavir.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking abacavir.