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Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine)

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antiretroviral Agent Kivexa® Adult, Children

Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) - What is it for

​Kivexa® is a combination of two antiretroviral agents (abacavir and lamivudine). These are agents that make viruses less infectious. It is used to decrease the amount of viruses (viral load) to as low as possible, for as long as possible.

Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) cause?

The most common side effects of Kivexa® include:

  • Nausea and vomiting. Eating small frequent meals or sucking on hard, sugar-free candy may help to reduce these side effects.
  • Stomach discomfort. Take medication after food to reduce gastric discomfort.

  • Loose stools. Rehydrate yourself by drinking lots of water.

  • Headache or muscle aches. Taking painkillers e.g. paracetamol can help to reduce the pain.

  • Fever. Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen can help reduce the fever.

  • Fatigue

  • Hair Loss

  • Change in body fat. Fat accumulation around the waist and sometimes accompanied by thinning of legs, arms, buttocks and face

Inform your doctor if any of the side effects above become serious or bothersome.

Some rare, but serious side effects of Kivexa® that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Widespread rash with blisters and peeling skin, particularly around the mouth, nose, eyes and genitals
  • Numbness, tingly feelings in the skin (pins and needles)

  • Sensation of weakness in the limbs

  • Liver disorders characterized by yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

  • Severe and/or persistent abdominal pain

Stop using Kivexa® and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the potentially serious side effects above.

Kivexa® contains abacavir which can cause a serious allergic reaction known as a hypersensitivity reaction. The hypersensitivity reaction (fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, worsening of cough or breathlessness, severe abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, rashes) can occur at any time during treatment with Kivexa®, especially during the first 6 weeks of treatment initiation.

Contact your doctor immediately:

  • if you get a skin rash, OR

  • if you get symptoms from at least 2 of the following groups:

    • fever

    • shortness of breath, sore throat or cough

    • nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal pain

    • severe tiredness or achiness, or generally feeling ill.

The doctor may advise you to stop taking Kivexa® if there is a suspicion of hypersensitivity reaction.  

Abacavir may also affect the cholesterol level and liver enzymes level. Your doctor will routinely monitor the levels prior to the treatment initiation and during the therapy.

Before taking Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine), what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine)?

Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) - Dosage and How to Use

How should Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) be used?

Kivexa® is given once daily, usually in combination with other antiretroviral agents, to achieve significant decrease in viral load.

Kivexa® can be taken with or without food. Swallow the tablets whole, with some water.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

Missing doses makes Kivexa® less effective and may also make the virus resistant to Kivexa® and other possible antiretroviral agents. This could make the virus harder to treat.

If you forgot to take Kivexa®, take the dose as soon as you remember and then continue to take it at the usual timing. Otherwise, if it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at the usual time. Do not double or increase the dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) - Handling and Storage

How should I handle Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) safely?

How should I store Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine)?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#Store at room temperature;#

How should I dispose of Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) safely?

Kivexa® (Abacavir / Lamivudine) - Additional Information

​Some medications may reduce the efficacy or increase the toxicity of Kivexa®. Do not give your child any other medications, supplements or herbal products without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Updated on Thursday, December 21, 2017
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy Department KK Women's and Children's Hospital

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