Epzicom is an anti-HIV medication in the category
of HIV medicines called nucleoside
reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).
Epzicom prevents HIV from altering the genetic
material of healthy T-cells. This prevents the
cells from producing new virus and decreases
the amount of virus in the body.
Epzicom is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline.
It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) for use by people living with HIV in August
Epzicom is a combination of two drugs: 600mg
of Ziagen® (abacavir)
and 300mg of Epivir®
(3TC). Epzicom should be prescribed by a
healthcare provider for patients who need both
of these drugs. Both of these drugs can still
be purchased individually for use in combination
with other anti-HIV drugs.
The brand name "Epzicom"
is an acronym for EPivir
Epzicom must be combined with at least one other
anti-HIV drug, usually a protease
inhibitor (PI) or a non-nucleoside
reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI).
is known about Epzicom?
Epzicom is a tablet taken once a day. It can
be taken with or without food.
Epzicom should not be any more or less effective
than Ziagen and Epivir taken as seperate pills
together. However, it is considered to be a
much more convenient way of taking these two
about side effects?
An important side effect that doctors and patients
need to be aware of is "hypersensitivity."
Approximately 8% of people who take Ziagen®
(abacavir), one of the two medications in Epzicom,
are allergic to it. This can be serious and
generally requires that Epzicom be stopped,
and that Epzicom or Ziagen
should not be taken again. A hypersensitivity
reaction usually appears during the second week
of therapy, but it can take as long as six weeks
to notice any symptoms. The most common symptoms
are fever and rash, followed by headaches, stomach
upset, feeling sick or tired, sore throat, cough,
and shortness of breath. These symptoms usually
get worse over time and it is important that
you report them to your doctor immediately.
If you need to stop Epzicom because of this
hypersensitivity reaction, you will still be
able to take Epivir,
the other drug in Epzicom.
Lactic acidosis, which can be fatal, and severe
liver problems have been reported in people
taking nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
(NRTIs), including Ziagen
and Epivir, the
two active drugs in Epzicom. Contact your doctor
immediately if you experience nausea, vomiting,
or unusual or unexpected stomach discomfort;
weakness and tiredness; shortness of breath;
weakness in the arms and legs; yellowing of
the skin or eyes; or pain in the upper stomach
Anti-HIV drug regimens containing nucleoside
reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), including
Epzicom, can cause increased fat levels (cholesterol
and triglycerides) in the blood, abnormal body-shape
changes (lipodystrophy; including increased
fat around the abdomen, breasts, and back of
the neck, as well as decreased fat in the face,
arms, and legs), and diabetes. These side effects
of anti-HIV drug therapy are reviewed in our
lessons on Lipodystrophy and Risks To Your Heart
about drug interactions?
It is believed that Epzicom can be safely taken
at the same time as most drugs used to treat
HIV and AIDS-related complications.
Epzicom should not be taken at the same time
as Emtriva or Truvada (containing Viread and
Emtriva). This is because the Epivir in Epzicom
is very similar to Emtriva, and it is not believed
that combining these two anti-HIV drugs will
make a regimen any more effective against the