Abacavir Sulfate (Page 5 of 9)

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 patients receiving abacavir (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.

6.2 Post-marketing Experience

In addition to adverse reactions reported from clinical trials, the following reactions have been identified during post-marketing use of abacavir. Because they are reported voluntarily from a population of unknown size, estimates of frequency cannot be made. These reactions have been chosen for inclusion due to a combination of their seriousness, frequency of reporting, or potential causal connection to abacavir.

Body as a Whole: Redistribution/accumulation of body fat.

Cardiovascular: Myocardial infarction.

Hepatic: Lactic acidosis and hepatic steatosis.

Skin: 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.


7.1 Ethanol

Abacavir has no effect on the pharmacokinetic properties of ethanol. Ethanol decreases the elimination of abacavir causing an increase in overall exposure [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

7.2 Methadone

The addition of methadone has no clinically significant effect on the pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir. In a trial of 11 HIV-1-infected subjects receiving methadone-maintenance therapy with 600 mg of abacavir 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.


8.1 Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects: Pregnancy Category C

Studies in pregnant rats showed that abacavir is transferred to the fetus through the placenta. Fetal malformations (increased incidences of fetal anasarca and skeletal malformations) and developmental toxicity (depressed fetal body weight and reduced crown-rump length) were observed in rats at a dose which produced 35 times the human exposure based on AUC. Embryonic and fetal toxicities (increased resorptions, decreased fetal body weights) and toxicities to the offspring (increased incidence of stillbirth and lower body weights) occurred at half of the above-mentioned dose in separate fertility studies conducted in rats. In the rabbit, no developmental toxicity and no increases in fetal malformations occurred at doses that produced 8.5 times the human exposure at the recommended dose based on AUC.

There are no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant women. Abacavir should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits outweigh the risk.

Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry

To monitor maternal-fetal outcomes of pregnant women exposed to abacavir, an Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has been established. Physicians are encouraged to register patients by calling 1-800-258-4263.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that HIV-1-infected mothers not breast-feed their infants to avoid risking postnatal transmission of HIV-1 infection.

Although it is not known if abacavir is excreted in human milk, abacavir is secreted into the milk of lactating rats. Because of both the potential for HIV-1 transmission and the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, mothers should be instructed not to breast-feed if they are receiving abacavir.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of abacavir have been established in pediatric patients 3 months to 13 years of age. Use of abacavir in these age groups is supported by pharmacokinetic trials and evidence from adequate and well controlled trials of abacavir in adults and pediatric patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3), Clinical Studies (14.2)].

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of abacavir did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.


There is no known antidote for abacavir. It is not known whether abacavir can be removed by peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis.


Abacavir sulfate is a synthetic carbocyclic nucleoside analogue with inhibitory activity against HIV-1. 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 (C14 H18 N6 O)2 •H2 SO4 and a molecular weight of 670.76 daltons. It has the following structural formula:

Abacavir Structural Formula

Abacavir sulfate, USP is an off-white to cream colored crystalline powder with a solubility of approximately 77 mg/mL in distilled water at 25°C. It has an octanol/water (pH 7.1 to 7.3) partition coefficient (log P) of approximately 1.20 at 25°C.

Abacavir tablets, USP are for oral administration. Each tablet contains abacavir sulfate, USP equivalent to 300 mg of abacavir as active ingredient and the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, red iron oxide, sodium starch glycolate, titanium dioxide and yellow iron oxide.

In vivo , abacavir sulfate dissociates to its free base, abacavir. All dosages for abacavir tablets are expressed in terms of abacavir.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Abacavir is an antiviral agent [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.4)].

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Pharmacokinetics in Adults

The pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir have been studied in asymptomatic, HIV-1-infected adult patients after administration of a single intravenous (IV) dose of 150 mg and after single and multiple oral doses. The pharmacokinetic properties of abacavir were independent of dose over the range of 300 to 1,200 mg/day.

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