EPZICOM (abacavir and lamivudine tablets)

EPZICOM (abacavir and lamivudine tablets)

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EPZICOM (abacavir and lamivudine tablets)

EPZICOM tablets contain the following 2 synthetic nucleoside analogues: abacavir (ZIAGEN, also a component of TRIZIVIR) and lamivudine (also known as EPIVIR or 3TC) with inhibitory activity against HIV-1.

EPZICOM tablets are for oral administration. Each orange, film-coated tablet contains the active ingredients 600 mg of abacavir as abacavir sulfate and 300 mg of lamivudine, and the inactive ingredients magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. The tablets are coated with a film (OPADRY orange YS-1-13065-A) that is made of FD&C Yellow No. 6, hypromellose, polyethylene glycol 400, polysorbate 80, and titanium dioxide.

Abacavir Sulfate: The chemical name of abacavir sulfate is (1S,cis)-4-[2-amino-6- (cyclopropylamino)-9H-purin-9-yl]-2-cyclopentene-1-methanol sulfate (salt) (2:1). Abacavir sulfate is the enantiomer with 1S, 4R absolute configuration on the cyclopentene ring. It has a molecular formula of (C14H18N6O) H2SO and a molecular weight of 670.76 g per mol.

Lamivudine: The chemical name of lamivudine is (2R,cis)-4-amino-1-(2-hydroxymethyl1,3-oxathiolan-5-yl)-(1H)-pyrimidin-2-one. Lamivudine is the (-)enantiomer of a dideoxy analogue of cytidine. Lamivudine has also been referred to as (-)2′,3′-dideoxy, 3′- thiacytidine. It has a molecular formula of C8H11N3O3S and a molecular weight of 229.3 g per mol.

Indications and usage

EPZICOM, in combination with other antiretroviral agents, is indicated for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection.

Mechanism of Action

Abacavir: 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.

Lamivudine: Lamivudine is a synthetic nucleoside analogue. Intracellularly, lamivudine is phosphorylated to its active 5′-triphosphate metabolite, lamivudine triphosphate (3TC-TP). The principal mode of action of 3TC-TP is inhibition of RT via DNA chain termination after incorporation of the nucleotide analogue.

Dosage and administration

Screening for HLA-B*5701 Allele prior to Starting EPZICOM: Screen for the HLA B*5701 allele prior to initiating therapy with EPZICOM

Recommended Dosage for Adult Patients: The recommended dosage of EPZICOM for adults is one tablet taken orally once daily, in combination with other antiretroviral agents, with or without food.

Recommended Dosage for Pediatric Patients: The recommended oral dose of EPZICOM for pediatric patients weighing at least 25 kg is one tablet daily in combination with other antiretroviral agents. Before prescribing EPZICOM tablets, pediatric patients should be assessed for the ability to swallow tablets.

Not Recommended Due to Lack of Dosage Adjustment: Because EPZICOM is a fixed dose tablet and cannot be dose adjusted, EPZICOM is not recommended for:

  • patients with creatinine clearance less than 50 mL per minute
  • patients with mild hepatic impairment. EPZICOM is contraindicated in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment

Use of EPIVIR (lamivudine) oral solution or tablets and ZIAGEN (abacavir) oral solution may be considered.


EPZICOM is contraindicated in patients:

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

Warnings and precautions

Hypersensitivity Reactions: Serious and sometimes fatal hypersensitivity reactions have occurred with abacavir, a component of EPZICOM. 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. Hypersensitivity to abacavir was reported in approximately 206 (8%) of 2,670 patients in 9 clinical trials with abacavir-containing products where HLA-B*5701 screening was not performed. The incidence of suspected abacavir hypersensitivity reactions in clinical trials was 1% when subjects carrying the HLA-B*5701 allele were excluded. In any patient treated with abacavir, the clinical diagnosis of hypersensitivity reaction must remain the basis of clinical decision making.

Exacerbations of Hepatitis B: Severe acute exacerbations of hepatitis B have been reported in patients who are co-infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) and have discontinued lamivudine, a component of EPZICOM. Monitor hepatic function closely in these patients and, if appropriate, initiate anti-hepatitis B treatment

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 and lamivudine (components of EPZICOM). 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. See full prescribing information for ZIAGEN (abacavir) and EPIVIR (lamivudine). Treatment with EPZICOM 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 EPZICOM. 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 the 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 5%) in an adult HIV-1 clinical trial were drug hypersensitivity, insomnia, depression/depressed mood, headache/migraine, fatigue/malaise, dizziness/vertigo, nausea, and diarrhea.

Drug interactions

Methadone: In a trial of 11 HIV-1-infected subjects receiving methadone-maintenance therapy with 600 mg of ZIAGEN 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.

Sorbitol: Coadministration of single doses of lamivudine and sorbitol resulted in a sorbitol dosedependent reduction in lamivudine exposures. When possible, avoid use of sorbitolcontaining medicines with lamivudine-containing medicines.

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: Not enough supportive information

Pediatric Use The dosing recommendations in this population are based on the safety and efficacy established in a controlled trial conducted using either the combination of EPIVIR and ZIAGEN or EPZICOM.

In pediatric patients weighing less than 25 kg, use of abacavir and lamivudine as single products is recommended to achieve appropriate dosing.

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 and lamivudine are present in human milk. There is no information on the effects of abacavir and lamivudine on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drug on milk production. Because of the potential for (1) HIV-1 transmission (in HIV-negative infants), (2) developing viral resistance (in HIV-positive infants), and (3) adverse reactions in a breastfed infant similar to those seen in adults, instruct mothers not to breastfeed if they are receiving EPZICOM.

Geriatric Use: Clinical trials of abacavir and lamivudine 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 EPZICOM 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 Renal Function: EPZICOM is not recommended for patients with creatinine clearance less than 50 mL per max max min because EPZICOM is a fixed-dose combination and the dosage of the individual components cannot be adjusted. If a dose reduction of lamivudine, a component of EPZICOM, is required for patients with creatinine clearance less than 50 mL per min, then the individual components should be used.

Patients with Impaired Hepatic Function: EPZICOM is a fixed-dose combination and the dosage of the individual components cannot be adjusted. If a dose reduction of abacavir, a component of EPZICOM, is required for patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A), then the individual components should be used.

The safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir have not been established in patients with moderate (Child-Pugh Class B) or severe (Child-Pugh Class C) hepatic impairment; therefore, EPZICOM is contraindicated in these patients.


There is no known specific treatment for overdose with EPZICOM. If overdose occurs, the patient should be monitored, and standard supportive treatment applied as required.

Abacavir: It is not known whether abacavir can be removed by peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis.

Lamivudine: Because a negligible amount of lamivudine was removed via (4-hour) hemodialysis, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, and automated peritoneal dialysis, it is not known if continuous hemodialysis would provide clinical benefit in a lamivudine overdose event.

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