AIDS Home > Trizivir Warnings and Precautions

There is a lot of important information to be aware of before starting Trizivir. Warnings and precautions include notifying your healthcare provider if you develop signs of an allergic reaction, following dosing guidelines as prescribed, and watching out for possible drug interactions. You should not take Trizivir if you are allergic to any components of the medication or have decreased liver function.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Trizivir?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Trizivir® (abacavir/lamivudine/zidovudine) if you have:
  • Anemia, neutropenia, or any other low blood count or blood disorder
  • Liver disease, such as liver failure or cirrhosis
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure
  • Hepatitis B
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:


  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings for Trizivir

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Trizivir include the following:
  • Abacavir (one of the components of Trizivir) often causes allergic reactions. These reactions can be extremely dangerous. Stop taking Trizivir and contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop symptoms from two or more of the following groups of symptoms:


    • Group 1 -- Fever
    • Group 2 -- Rash
    • Group 3 -- Nausea, vomiting diarrhea, or abdominal pain (stomach pain)
    • Group 4 -- Extreme fatigue, a general ill feeling (malaise), or achiness
    • Group 5 -- Shortness of breath, cough, or a sore throat.
If you have ever had an allergic reaction to abacavir, you should never take Trizivir (or any other medication containing abacavir) ever again.
  • People with a certain gene known as HLA-B*5701 are much more likely to have serious allergic reactions to this medication. It is recommended that you be tested for this gene before starting this medication or before restarting it (even if you did not have problems in the past). In general, this medication is not recommended for people with this gene. It should be noted that serious allergic reactions can still occur in people that do not have this gene.


  • Trizivir can rarely cause a condition called lactic acidosis and hepatic steatosis. It is caused by damage to the liver and can be very dangerous. You are at higher risk for this side effect if you are obese or have liver disease.


  • Trizivir can cause bone marrow depression, which means that it can decrease the bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells. This can lead to a variety of problems, such as anemia, frequent infections, or bleeding. Your healthcare provider should check your blood counts frequently while you are taking Trizivir.
  • Trizivir can cause muscle problems. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop muscle weakness or pain.
  • Studies of lamivudine (one of the components of Trizivir) for treating hepatitis B have suggested that hepatic B may worsen after lamivudine is stopped. If you have hepatitis B and you stop taking Trizivir, your healthcare provider may need to monitor you more closely. Trizivir has not been studied in people who are infected with both HIV and hepatitis B.


  • When you first start taking this medication and your immune system begins to recover, a group of problems known as immune reconstitution syndrome may occur. Your immune system may start aggressively reacting to any infections you may have and may cause extreme inflammation. There have even been cases of autoimmune disorders (such as Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome) possibly caused by this problem. 


  • One study suggested that abacavir (one of the components of this medication) may increase the risk of a heart attack. Although further analysis (using the data from several studies) did not confirm this risk, your healthcare provider should take measure to identify and treat (if possible) any possible heart disease risk factors


  • Trizivir can change the distribution of fat on your body. You may gain fat in areas that are not typical for you, such as in the abdomen or at the back of the neck (a "buffalo hump"), and may lose weight in other areas.
  • Trizivir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. If you have HIV or AIDS, you should always use safer sex practices, regardless of whether you are taking medications.
  • As with all HIV medications, it is important that you take Trizivir exactly as prescribed. Missing doses may increase the chance of the virus becoming resistant to HIV medications.
  • The kidneys help remove Trizivir from the blood. Therefore, check with your healthcare provider before taking Trizivir if you have kidney disease.
  • Trizivir can interact with a number of different medications (see Trizivir Drug Interactions for more information).
  • Trizivir is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Trizivir and Pregnancy).
  • Trizivir passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Trizivir and Breastfeeding). It is important to understand that the HIV virus can be transmitted through breast milk and that breastfeeding is usually not recommended in women with HIV or AIDS.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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