Generic Name: abacavir

Pronunciation: ZEYE-uh-jen

Abbreviation: ABC

Other Market Name: N/A

Drug Class: Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs)

Company: ViiV Healthcare

Approval Status: Approved

Generic Version Available: Yes

Experimental Code: N/A

Drug Indication

A component of recommended and alternative treatment regimens for antiretroviral-naive people living with HIV, as indicated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents. Visit for the full DHHS guidelines.

General Info

Ziagen is an HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Ziagen was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by people living with HIV in 1998.

Ziagen is available as a single drug or in the fixed-dosed combination drugs Epzicom, Triumeq and Trizivir.

Ziagen must be used in combination with other HIV drugs.


Adult Dose: One 300mg tablet twice a day, or two 300mg tablets once a day.

Pediatric Dose: Age 3 months to 18 years: dosing based on weight and should not exceed adult daily dose.

Dosing Info: Take with or without food.

Side Effects

Serious allergic reactions (hypersensitivity reaction) that can cause death have happened with Ziagen and other abacavir-containing products. Your risk of this allergic reaction is much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Your healthcare provider can determine with a blood test if you have this gene variation.

Symptoms of hypersensitivity reaction may include fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, malaise, fatigue, or respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath.

Some studies suggest that current or recent use of regimens containing abacavir can increase the risk of a heart attack. However, this risk has not been confirmed by other studies.

Some of the more common side effects include appetite loss, headaches, malaise, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Drug Interactions

For a review of drug interactions, including prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements that should not be taken with Ziagen or may require dose adjustments, consult the Ziagen package insert:

Other Info

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or any previous experience with a regimen containing abacavir. In addition, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, if you are breastfeeding, and all your medical conditions, including all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking.

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Last Reviewed: July 15, 2016