ABACAVIR tablets

ABACAVIR tablets

ABACAVIR tablets

The chemical name of abacavir sulfate, USP is (1 S,cis)-4-[2-amino-6-(cyclopropylamino)-9 H-purin-9- yl]-2-cyclopentene-1-methanol sulfate (salt) (2:1). Abacavir sulfate, USP is the enantiomer with 1S, 4R absolute configuration on the cyclopentene ring. It has a molecular formula of (C14H18N6O)2 •H2SO4 and molecular weight of 670.74 g per mol.

Abacavir sulfate, USP is a white to off-white powder and is soluble in water.

Abacavir tablets, USP are for oral administration. Each tablet contains abacavir sulfate equivalent to 300 mg of abacavir as active ingredient and the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, red iron oxide, sodium starch glycolate (potato), titanium dioxide and yellow iron oxide.

In vivo, abacavir sulfate dissociates to its free base, abacavir. Dosages are expressed in terms of abacavir.

Indications and usage

Abacavir tablets, in combination with other antiretroviral agents, are indicated for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection.

Mechanism of action

Abacavir is a carbocyclic synthetic nucleoside analogue. Abacavir is converted by cellular enzymes to the active metabolite, carbovir triphosphate (CBV-TP), an analogue of deoxyguanosine-5′-triphosphate (dGTP). CBV-TP inhibits the activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) both by competing with the natural substrate dGTP and by its incorporation into viral DNA.

Dosage and administration

  • Screen for the HLA-B*5701 allele prior to initiating therapy with abacavir

The recommended dosage of abacavir tablets for adults is 600 mg daily, administered orally as either 300 mg twice daily or 600 mg once daily, in combination with other antiretroviral agents.

Recommended Dosage for Pediatric Patients

Weight (kg)Once-Daily Dosing RegimenAM DosePM DoseTotal Daily Dose
14 to < 201 tablet (300 mg)½ tablet (150 mg)½ tablet (150 mg)300 mg
≥ 20 to < 251½ tablets (450 mg)½ tablet (150 mg)1 tablet (300 mg)450 mg
≥ 252 tablets (600 mg)1 tablet (300 mg)1 tablet (300 mg)600 mg

Recommended Dosage for Patients with Hepatic Impairment

The recommended dose of abacavir in patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A) is 200 mg twice daily. To enable dose reduction, abacavir oral solution (10 mL twice daily) should be used for the treatment of these patients. The safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir have not been established in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment; therefore, abacavir is contraindicated in these patients.


Abacavir tablets are contraindicated in patients:

  • who have the HLA-B*5701 allele
  • with prior hypersensitivity reaction to abacavir
  • with moderate or severe hepatic impairment

Warnings and precautions

Hypers ensitivity Reactions: Serious and sometimes fatal hypersensitivity reactions have occurred with abacavir. These hypersensitivity reactions have included multi-organ failure and anaphylaxis and typically occurred within the first 6 weeks of treatment with abacavir (median time to onset was 9 days); although abacavir hypersensitivity reactions have occurred any time during treatment. Patients who carry the HLA-B*5701 allele are at a higher risk of abacavir hypersensitivity reactions; although, patients who do not carry the HLA-B*5701 allele have developed hypersensitivity reactions.

Lactic Acidosis and Severe Hepatomegaly with Steatosis: Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogues, including abacavir. A majority of these cases have been in women. Female sex and obesity may be risk factors for the development of lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis in patients treated with antiretroviral nucleoside analogues. Treatment with abacavir should be suspended in any patient who develops clinical or laboratory findings suggestive of lactic acidosis or pronounced hepatotoxicity, which may include hepatomegaly and steatosis even in the absence of marked transaminase elevations.

Immune Reconstitution Syndrome: Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including abacavir. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune systems respond may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections (such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia [PCP], or tuberculosis), which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.

Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves’ disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution; however, the time to onset is more variable and can occur many months after initiation of treatment.

Myocardial Infarction

Several prospective, observational, epidemiological studies have reported an association with the use of abacavir and the risk of myocardial infarction (MI). Meta-analyses of randomized, controlled, clinical trials have observed no excess risk of MI in abacavir-treated subjects as compared with control subjects. To date, there is no established biological mechanism to explain a potential increase in risk. In totality, the available data from the observational studies and from controlled clinical trials show inconsistency; therefore, evidence for a causal relationship between abacavir treatment and the risk of MI is inconclusive.

As a precaution, the underlying risk of coronary heart disease should be considered when prescribing antiretroviral therapies, including abacavir, and action taken to minimize all modifiable risk factors (e.g., hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking).

Adverse reactions

The most commonly reported adverse reactions of at least moderate intensity (incidence greater than or equal to 10%) in adult HIV-1 clinical trials were nausea, headache, malaise and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and dreams/sleep disorders.

The most commonly reported adverse reactions of at least moderate intensity (incidence greater than or equal to 5%) in pediatric HIV-1 clinical trials were fever and/or chills, nausea and vomiting, skin rashes, and ear/nose/throat infections.

Drug interactions

Methadone: In a trial of 11 HIV-1–infected subjects receiving methadone-maintenance therapy with 600 mg of abacavir twice daily (twice the currently recommended dose), oral methadone clearance increased. This alteration will not result in a methadone dose modification in the majority of patients; however, an increased methadone dose may be required in a small number of patients.

Riociguat: Coadministration with fixed-dose abacavir/dolutegravir/lamivudine resulted in increased riociguat exposure, which may increase the risk of riociguat adverse reactions. The riociguat dose may need to be reduced. See full prescribing information for ADEMPAS (riociguat).

Use in specific populations

Pregnancy: Abacavir has been shown to cross the placenta and concentrations in neonatal plasma at birth were essentially equal to those in maternal plasma at delivery

Lactation: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that HIV-1–infected mothers in the United States not breastfeed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1 infection. Abacavir is present in human milk. There is no information on the effects of abacavir on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drug on milk production. Because of the potential for (1) HIV-1 transmission (in HIVnegative infants), (2) developing viral resistance (in HIV-positive infants), and (3) adverse reactions in a breastfed infant, instruct mothers not to breastfeed if they are receiving abacavir.

Pediatric Use: The safety and effectiveness of abacavir have been established in pediatric patients aged 3 months and older. Use of abacavir is supported by pharmacokinetic trials and evidence from adequate and wellcontrolled trials of abacavir in adults and pediatric subjects.

Geriatric Use: Clinical trials of abacavir did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, caution should be exercised in the administration of abacavir in elderly patients reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Patients with Impaired Hepatic Function: A dose reduction is required for patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A). The safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir have not been established in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment; therefore, abacavir is contraindicated in these patients.


There is no known specific treatment for overdose with abacavir. If overdose occurs, the patient should be monitored and standard supportive treatment applied as required. It is not known whether abacavir can be removed by peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis.

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