Prescription Drug Information: Abacavir (Page 3 of 7)

6.2 Clinical Trials Experience in Pediatric Subjects

Therapy-Experienced Pediatric Subjects (Twice-Daily Dosing)

Treatment-emergent clinical adverse reactions (rated by the investigator as moderate or severe) with a greater than or equal to 5% frequency during therapy with abacavir sulfate 8 mg per kg twice daily, lamivudine 4 mg per kg twice daily, and zidovudine 180 mg per m2 twice daily compared with lamivudine 4 mg per kg twice daily and zidovudine 180 mg per m2 twice daily from CNA3006 are listed in Table 6.

Table 6. Treatment-Emergent (All Causality) Adverse Reactions of at Least Moderate Intensity (Grades 2-4, Greater than or Equal to 5% Frequency) in Therapy-Experienced Pediatric Subjects (CNA3006) through 16 Weeks of Treatment
Adverse Reaction Abacavir sulfate plus Lamivudine plus Zidovudine (n = 102) Lamivudine plus Zidovudine (n = 103)
Fever and/or chills 9% 7%
Nausea and vomiting 9% 2%
Skin rashes 7% 1%
Ear/nose/throat infections 5% 1%
Pneumonia 4% 5%
Headache 1% 5%

Laboratory Abnormalities: In CNA3006, laboratory abnormalities (anemia, neutropenia, liver function test abnormalities, and CPK elevations) were observed with similar frequencies as in a trial of therapy-naive adults (CNA30024). Mild elevations of blood glucose were more frequent in pediatric subjects receiving abacavir sulfate (CNA3006) as compared with adult subjects (CNA30024).

Other Adverse Events

In addition to adverse reactions and laboratory abnormalities reported in Tables 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, other adverse reactions observed in the expanded access program were pancreatitis and increased GGT.

Pediatric Subjects Once-Daily versus Twice-Daily Dosing (COL105677): The safety of once-daily compared with twice-daily dosing of abacavir was assessed in the ARROW trial. Primary safety assessment in the ARROW trial was based on Grade 3 and Grade 4 adverse events. The frequency of Grade 3 and 4 adverse events was similar among subjects randomized to once-daily dosing compared with subjects randomized to twice-daily dosing. One event of Grade 4 hepatitis in the once-daily cohort was considered as uncertain causality by the investigator and all other Grade 3 or 4 adverse events were considered not related by the investigator.

6.3 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postmarketing use of abacavir sulfate. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of unknown size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposures.

Body as a Whole

Redistribution/accumulation of body fat.


Myocardial infarction.


Lactic acidosis and hepatic steatosis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].


Suspected Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) have been reported in patients receiving abacavir primarily in combination with medications known to be associated with SJS and TEN, respectively. Because of the overlap of clinical signs and symptoms between hypersensitivity to abacavir and SJS and TEN, and the possibility of multiple drug sensitivities in some patients, abacavir should be discontinued and not restarted in such cases.

There have also been reports of erythema multiforme with abacavir use [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].


7.1 Methadone

In a trial of 11 HIV-1-infected subjects receiving methadone-maintenance therapy with 600 mg of abacavir sulfate twice daily (twice the currently recommended dose), oral methadone clearance increased [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. 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.

7.2 Riociguat

Coadministration with fixed-dose abacavir/dolutegravir/lamivudine resulted in increased riociguat exposure, which may increase the risk of riociguat adverse reactions [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. The riociguat dose may need to be reduced. See full prescribing information for ADEMPAS (riociguat).


8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Exposure Registry

There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to abacavir sulfate during pregnancy. Healthcare Providers are encouraged to register patients by calling the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry (APR) at 1-800-258-4263.

Risk Summary

Available data from the APR show no difference in the overall risk of birth defects for abacavir compared with the background rate for birth defects of 2.7% in the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP) reference population (see Data). The APR uses the MACDP as the U.S. reference population for birth defects in the general population. The MACDP evaluates women and infants from a limited geographic area and does not include outcomes for births that occurred at less than 20 weeks’ gestation. The rate of miscarriage is not reported in the APR. The estimated background rate of miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies in the U.S. general population is 15% to 20%. The background risk for major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown.

In animal reproduction studies, oral administration of abacavir to pregnant rats during organogenesis resulted in fetal malformations and other embryonic and fetal toxicities at exposures 35 times the human exposure (AUC) at the recommended clinical daily dose. However, no adverse developmental effects were observed following oral administration of abacavir to pregnant rabbits during organogenesis, at exposures approximately 9 times the human exposure (AUC) at the recommended clinical dose (see Data).


Human Data: Based on prospective reports to the APR of exposures to abacavir during pregnancy resulting in live births (including over 1,300 exposed in the first trimester and over 1,300 exposed in second/third trimester), there was no difference between the overall risk of birth defects for abacavir compared with the background birth defect rate of 2.7% in the U.S. reference population of the MACDP. The prevalence of defects in live births was 3.2% (95% CI: 2.3% to 4.3%) following first trimester exposure to abacavir-containing regimens and 2.9% (95% CI: 2.1% to 4.0%) following second/third trimester exposure to abacavir-containing regimens.

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 [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Animal Data: Abacavir was administered orally to pregnant rats (at 100, 300, and 1,000 mg per kg per day) and rabbits (at 125, 350, or 700 mg per kg per day) during organogenesis (on Gestation Days 6 through 17 and 6 through 20, respectively). Fetal malformations (increased incidences of fetal anasarca and skeletal malformations) or developmental toxicity (decreased fetal body weight and crown-rump length) were observed in rats at doses up to 1,000 mg per kg per day, resulting in exposures approximately 35 times the human exposure (AUC) at the recommended daily dose. No developmental effects were observed in rats at 100 mg per kg per day, resulting in exposures (AUC) 3.5 times the human exposure at the recommended daily dose. In a fertility and early embryo-fetal development study conducted in rats (at 60, 160, or 500 mg per kg per day), embryonic and fetal toxicities (increased resorptions, decreased fetal body weights) or toxicities to the offspring (increased incidence of stillbirth and lower body weights) occurred at doses up to 500 mg per kg per day. No developmental effects were observed in rats at 60 mg per kg per day, resulting in exposures (AUC) approximately 4 times the human exposure at the recommended daily dose. Studies in pregnant rats showed that abacavir is transferred to the fetus through the placenta. In pregnant rabbits, no developmental toxicities and no increases in fetal malformations occurred at up to the highest dose evaluated, resulting in exposures (AUC) approximately 9 times the human exposure at the recommended dose.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

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 HIV-negative 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 tablets.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of abacavir sulfate have been established in pediatric patients aged 3 months and older. Use of abacavir sulfate is supported by pharmacokinetic trials and evidence from adequate and well-controlled trials of abacavir sulfate in adults and pediatric subjects [see Dosage and Administration (2.3), Adverse Reactions (6.2), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3), Clinical Studies (14.2)].

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical trials of abacavir sulfate 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 sulfate in elderly patients reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

8.6 Patients with Impaired Hepatic Function

A dose reduction is required for patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A) [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)]. The safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir have not been established in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment; therefore, abacavir sulfate is contraindicated in these patients [see Contraindications (4), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].


There is no known specific treatment for overdose with abacavir sulfate. 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. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed prescription drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual prescription drug label and package insert entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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