Trizivir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include allergic reactions, lactic acidosis (buildup of acid in the blood), liver problems, and blood disorders, including severe anemia. Prolonged use of zidovudine, an anti-HIV medicine included in Trizivir, can cause muscle weakness (myopathy).
Trizivir contains abacavir. People who take abacavir-containing products may have a serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction) that can cause death. Your risk of this allergic reaction is much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Your health care provider can determine with a blood test if you have this gene variation. If you get a symptom from two or more of the following groups while taking Trizivir, contact your health care provider right away to find out if you should stop taking Trizivir.
- Group 1 Symptoms: Fever
- Group 2 Symptoms: Rash.
- Group 3 Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal (stomach area) pain.
- Group 4 Symptoms: General ill feeling, extreme tiredness, or achiness.
- Group 5 Symptoms: Shortness of breath, cough, sore throat.
Your pharmacist will give you a Warning Card with a list of these symptoms. Carry this Warning Card with you at all times. If you stop Trizivir because of an allergic reaction, never take Trizivir or any other abacavir-containing medicine again. If you take Trizivir or any other abacavir-containing medicine again after you have had an allergic reaction, within hours you may get life-threatening symptoms that may include very low blood pressure or death. If you stop Trizivir for any other reason, even for a few days, and you are not allergic to Trizivir, talk with your health care provider before taking it again. Taking Trizivir again can cause a serious allergic or life-threatening reaction, even if you never had an allergic reaction to Trizivir before. If your health care provider tells you that you can take Trizivir again, start taking it when you are around medical help or people who can call a health care provider if you need one.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal lactic acidosis:
- Feeling very weak or tired.
- Unusual (not normal) muscle pain.
- Trouble breathing.
- Stomach pain with nausea and vomiting.
- Feeling cold, especially in your arms and legs.
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed.
- Fast or irregular heartbeat.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal liver problems:
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice).
- Dark-colored urine.
- Light-colored bowel movements.
- Loss of appetite for several days or longer.
- Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea).
- Lower stomach area (abdominal) pain.
Severe worsening of liver disease has occurred in some people co-infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV when they stopped treatment with lamivudine, an anti-HIV medicine included in Trizivir. Worsening of liver disease, sometimes causing death, has also occurred in people co-infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV who were taking anti-HIV medicines and also being treated for HCV with interferon with or without ribavirin. Tell your health care provider about any side effects you have.
Trizivir may increase the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction).
While taking Trizivir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
What is Trizivir?
Trizivir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and adolescents who weigh at least 90 pounds. Trizivir is always used in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.
Trizivir contains the following three anti-HIV medicines combined in one pill: abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine. Abacavir, lamivudine, and zidovudine are types of anti-HIV medicines called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). NRTIs work by blocking HIV reverse transcriptase, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.
Trizivir does not cure HIV/AIDS. It is not known if Trizivir reduces the risk of passing HIV to other people.
What should I tell my health care provider before taking Trizivir?
Before taking Trizivir, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to Trizivir or any other medicines.
- If you have been tested and know whether or not you have a particular gene variation called HLA-B*5701.
- If you have liver problems, including HBV or HCV infection.
- If you have kidney problems.
- If you have low blood cell counts (bone marrow problems).
- If you have heart problems, smoke, or have diseases that increase your risk of heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
- If you have any other medical conditions.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether Trizivir can harm an unborn baby is unknown.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or are taking Trizivir.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Trizivir may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how Trizivir works. Taking Trizivir together with certain medicines or products may cause serious and/or life-threatening side effects.
How should I take Trizivir?
Trizivir comes in tablet form. Each tablet contains:
- 300 mg abacavir (brand name: Ziagen).
- 150 mg lamivudine (brand name: Epivir).
- 300 mg zidovudine (brand name: Retrovir).
Take Trizivir according to your health care provider’s instructions.
Trizivir should be taken by mouth, with or without food.
Always take Trizivir in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.
If you take too much Trizivir, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
For more information on how to take Trizivir, see the Trizivir drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can Trizivir cause?
Trizivir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include allergic reactions, lactic acidosis (buildup of acid in the blood), liver problems, and blood disorders, including severe anemia. Prolonged use of zidovudine, an anti-HIV medicine included in Trizivir, can cause muscle weakness (myopathy). (See the WARNING above.)
Other possible side effects of Trizivir include:
- Changes in the immune system (immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome).
- Changes in body fat (lipodystrophy).
Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of Trizivir. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for more information on possible side effects of Trizivir.
How should Trizivir be stored?
- Store Trizivir at 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
- Safely throw away Trizivir that is no longer needed or expired (out of date).
- Keep Trizivir and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about Trizivir?
More information about Trizivir is available:
The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet (film coated)
Last Reviewed: September 13, 2012
Last Updated: August 23, 2013