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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2011 Sep;12(13):2129-38. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2011.602631. Epub 2011 Jul 25.

Abacavir and lamivudine for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus.

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Luigi Sacco Hospital, I Division of Infectious Diseases, Via G.B. Grassi, Milan, Italy.



The introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in 1996 dramatically changed the survival and the quality of life of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Viral replication can be controlled by using a combination of more than 30 licensed drugs. Despite the fact that many advances have been made in the last 20 years of experience with antiretrovirals, certain needs remain to be addressed, such as the presence of chronic inflammation, the long-term side effects of newly introduced drugs and eradication. Abacavir (ABC) and lamivudine (3TC) are licensed in a fixed-dose combination to be administered once daily with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV.


This article provides an extensive review of the evidence on the combination of ABC 600 mg and 3TC 300 mg. Specifically, it discusses the chemistry-- including the phrarmacodynamics, resistance to treatment, pharmacokinetics and metabolism--and formulations available. It also looks at clinical efficacy, including safety and tolerability.


In the last few years, new data regarding human leukocyte antigen (HLA) B*5701 testing to prevent the hypersensitivity reaction due to ABC have been presented, providing a landmark in the management of adverse events in HIV, and later a previously unexpected correlation of the recent exposure to ABC with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This review presents the current situation with regard to the long-term efficacy and safety data on the ABC/3TC combination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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