Drug information

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Brand Name
Epzicom
Other Names
ABC / 3TC, abacavir sulfate / lamivudine
Drug Class
Combination Drugs
Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (abacavir, lamivudine)
Drug Image(s): (Click to enlarge)
 
What are the most important things to know about Epzicom?What are the most important things to know about Epzicom?

What are the most important things to know about Epzicom?

Epzicom can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include allergic reactions, a buildup of lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis), and liver problems.

Epzicom contains abacavir, an HIV medicine. People who take abacavir-containing products, including Epzicom, may have a serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction) that can cause death.
 Your risk of this allergic reaction is much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Your health care provider can determine if you have this gene variation with a blood test.

If you get a symptom from two or more of the following groups while taking Epzicom, contact your health care provider right away to find out if you should stop taking Epzicom.

  • Group 1 Symptoms: Fever
  • Group 2 Symptoms: Rash
  • Group 3 Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach area (abdominal) pain
  • Group 4 Symptoms: General ill feeling, extreme tiredness, or achiness
  • Group 5 Symptoms: Shortness of breath, cough, sore throat

Your pharmacist will give you a Warning Card with a list of these symptoms. Carry this Warning Card with you at all times.

If you stop taking Epzicom because of an allergic reaction, never take Epzicom or any other abacavir-containing medicine again. If you take Epzicom or any other abacavir-containing medicine again after you have had an allergic reaction, within hours you may get life-threatening symptoms that may include very low blood pressure or death.

If you stop taking Epzicom for any other reason, even for a few days, and you are not allergic to Epzicom, talk with your health care provider before taking it again. Taking Epzicom again can cause a serious allergic or life-threatening reaction, even if you never had an allergic reaction to it before. If your health care provider tells you that you can take Epzicom again, start taking it when you are around medical help or people who can call a health care provider if you need one.

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of lactic acidosis:

  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Unusual muscle pain
  • Shortness of breath or fast breathing
  • Stomach pain with nausea and vomiting
  • Cold or blue hands and feet
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fast or abnormal heartbeat
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of liver problems:
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Light-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite for several days or longer
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach/abdominal area
  • Itching
If you have both HIV and hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) and take Epzicom, your HBV infection may get much worse (flare up) if you stop taking Epzicom. Do not stop taking Epzicom without first talking to your health care provider.

While taking Epzicom, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
What is Epzicom?What is Epzicom?

What is Epzicom?

Epzicom is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and in children who weigh at least 55 lb (25 kg). Epzicom is always used in combination with other HIV medicines. 

Epzicom contains two different medicines: abacavir and lamivudine.

For more information on the use of Epzicom in people with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV and the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection.

HIV medicines cannot cure HIV/AIDS, but taking HIV medicines every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. If you are taking HIV medicines, do not cut down on, skip, or stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking Epzicom?What should I tell my health care provider before taking Epzicom?

What should I tell my health care provider before taking Epzicom?

Before taking Epzicom, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to either of the HIV medicines in Epzicom (abacavir or lamivudine) or any other medicines.
  • If you have been tested and know whether you have a particular gene variation called HLA-B*5701.
  • If you have or have had liver problems, including hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) or hepatitis C virus infection (HCV).
  • If you have kidney problems.
  • If you have heart problems; smoke; or have diseases that increase your risk of heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
  • If you have any other medical conditions.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of taking Epzicom during pregnancy. For more information on the use of Epzicom during pregnancy, please refer to the Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant Women with HIV Infection and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. For women with HIV in the United States, the Guideline does not recommend breastfeeding. Before your baby is born, or if you are already breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider to discuss alternative options for feeding your baby.
  • If you are using hormone-based birth control (such as pills, implants, or vaginal rings). For more information about using birth control and HIV medicines at the same time, view the HIVinfo HIV and Birth Control infographic.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Epzicom may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how Epzicom works. Taking Epzicom together with certain medicines or products may cause serious side effects.
How should I take Epzicom?How should I take Epzicom?

How should I take Epzicom?

Epzicom comes in tablet form. Each tablet contains:

Take Epzicom according to your health care provider’s instructions.

Take Epzicom by mouth with or without food. Tell your health care provider if your child has trouble swallowing Epzicom tablets.

Always take Epzicom in combination with other HIV medicines.

If you have taken too much Epzicom, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

For more information on how to take Epzicom, see the FDA drug label.

What should I do if I forget a dose?What should I do if I forget a dose?

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of Epzicom, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.

What side effects can Epzicom cause?What side effects can Epzicom cause?

What side effects can Epzicom cause?

Epzicom may cause side effects. Some side effects of Epzicom can be serious as noted above. Many side effects from HIV medicines, such as nausea or occasional dizziness, are manageable. See the HIVinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects for more information.

Other possible side effects of Epzicom include:

Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Epzicom. To learn more about possible side effects of Epzicom, read the drug label or package insert or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.

You can report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online.

How should Epzicom be stored?How should Epzicom be stored?

How should Epzicom be stored?

  • Store Epzicom between 59°F and 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
  • Keep Epzicom in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not use Epzicom if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away Epzicom that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep Epzicom and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about Epzicom?Where can I find more information about Epzicom?

Where can I find more information about Epzicom?

Manufacturer Information

ViiV Healthcare

Main number: 877-844-8872
Patient assistance (ViiV Connect): 844-588-3288

 

Last Reviewed: October 6, 2021