Terrence Higgins Trust uses cookies to improve your experience of our websites. For more information or to change the use of cookies, please click here.

Accept and Close

abacavir (Ziagen)


Generic name: abacavir

Brand names: Ziagen

Class: Individual NRTIs (nukes)


Common affecting up to 1 in 10 people): Hypersensitivity reaction*, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite.

Rare (affecting up to 1 in 1,000 people): Pancreatitis.

Very rare (affecting up to 1 in 10,000 people): Lactic acidosis, skin rash resulting in blisters (erythema multiforme), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis.


300mg tablet.

Take 300mg twice a day or 600mg once a day.


Take with or without food.

If you're at an increased risk of a heart attack, let your doctor know. This includes people who smoke or who have diabetes or high blood pressure. This is because it cannot be ruled out that abacavir may increase the risk of having a heart attack.

*If you're planning to take abacavir, or any treatment containing abacavir, your doctor should carry out a blood test for a gene called HLA-B*5701. You are more likely to have a hypersensitivity reaction to abacavir if you have this gene. If the test shows that you do have the gene, you should not take abacavir.

Last reviewed on 19/12/2016 Next review: 19/12/2019

Any questions? Email feedback@tht.org.uk Information included on this website was correct at the time of publication.

Data and image supplied by NAM.

Further information on this drug from NAM