What is Abacavir?
Abacavir (ABC) is an antiretroviral used to treat HIV/AIDS. It is of the nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) type. Viral strains that are resistant to zidovudine (AZT) or lamivudine (3TC) are generally sensitive to abacavir (ABC), whereas some strains that are resistant to AZT and 3TC are not as sensitive to abacavir.
It is well tolerated: the main side effect is hypersensitivity, which can be severe, and in rare cases, fatal. Genetic testing can indicate whether an individual will be hypersensitive; over 90% of people can safely take abacavir.
It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system. It is available under the trade name Ziagen (ViiV Healthcare) and in the combination formulations Trizivir (abacavir, zidovudine and lamivudine) and Kivexa/Epzicom (abacavir and lamivudine).