Antiretroviral medicines can have many side effects. Some
can be very serious, even life-threatening, such as liver failure or
inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Most are not serious but
may reduce the quality of your life. Some people who don't have any symptoms of
HIV infection may feel worse while taking the
medications if they have side effects from the medicines.
highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) requires the use of 3 or more
antiretroviral medicines, some side effects are likely to occur,
A serious, potentially life-threatening
allergic reaction occurs in a small number of people
who take abacavir. A screening test (HLA-B*5701 screening test) is available to
help predict who may have a serious reaction to abacavir.1 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
recommends that anyone who may receive abacavir should get tested for
sensitivity to it first.2
on side effects of specific antiretroviral medicines, see:
Report all side effects to your doctor at your next visit. He
or she can adjust your dose or give you other medicines to reduce side effects.
Some mild side effects, such as nausea, improve as your body adjusts to the
Mallal S, et al. (2008). HLA-B*5701 screening for
hypersensitivity to abacavir. New England Journal of Medicine, 358(6): 568-579.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2007).
Guidelines for the use of antiretroviral agents in HIV-1-infected adults and
adolescents. Adult and Adolescent Guidelines. Available
Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS
Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Primary Medical Reviewer
Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
May 8, 2008
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 08, 2008
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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