STD Home > Is It a Common Reaction to Abacavir/Lamivudine or Something Else?

Common Side Effects

The exact formulation of abacavir/lamivudine has not been studied in clinical trials. In fact, the available side effect information involves a study that used the two medications in abacavir/lamivudine plus another HIV medication.
Therefore, it is impossible to know whether these side effects are due to abacavir/lamivudine or the other HIV medication. Based on this study, the most common side effects of abacavir/lamivudine (plus another HIV medication) included:
  • Insomnia -- in up to 7 percent of people
  • Headaches or migraines -- up to 7 percent
  • Fatigue or a general ill feeling (malaise) -- up to 6 percent
  • Dizziness or a spinning sensation (vertigo) -- up to 6 percent.
Other common side effects (occurring in 3 to 5 percent of people) included:
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Abnormal dreams.

Abacavir/Lamivudine and Allergic Reactions

Abacavir (one of the components of abacavir/lamivudine) can cause very serious (sometimes life-threatening) allergic reactions. These dangerous reactions are actually fairly common. Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to abacavir are common and may not actually be due to an allergic reaction in all cases.
In order to help people know if a serious allergic reaction is occurring, the manufacturer of abacavir/lamivudine has developed a system involving groups of symptoms. It is recommended that you stop taking abacavir/lamivudine and call your healthcare provider immediately if you develop symptoms from two or more of the following groups of symptoms:
  • Group 1 -- Fever
  • Group 2 -- Rash
  • Group 3 -- Nausea, vomiting diarrhea, or abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Group 4 -- Extreme fatigue, a general ill feeling (malaise), or achiness
  • Group 5 -- Shortness of breath, cough, or a sore throat.


People with a certain gene known as HLA-B*5701 are much more likely to have such reactions to this medication. It is recommended that you be tested for this gene before starting this medication or before restarting it (even if you did not have problems in the past).
In general, this medication is not recommended for people with this gene. It should be noted that serious allergic reactions can still occur in people that do not have this gene.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation

Topics & Medications


Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.