Abacavir

Abacavir is a drug used for the effective treatment of HIV. Abacavir is a drug that inhibits the growth of viruses. It is used to treat HIV infections and AIDS.

Abacavir and the benefit of DNA analysis

In around 5% of all people a treatment with abacavir triggers severe side effects, which can be grouped under the heading of hypersensitivity reactions. These can even be life-threatening. Hypersensitivity to abacavir can be predicted to some extent on the basis of your genes. Preventive DNA analysis can therefore be an important tool in optimising your medication.

Symptoms that may be experienced in the event of a hypersensitivity reaction include fever, rashes, stomach and bowel disorders, muscle and joint pain, breathing problems, low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock, and kidney and liver failure.

Abacavir and the HLA-B*5701 gene

Your individual risk of side effects in the event of treatment with abacavir may be partly explained by genetic variations. It is known, for example, that mutations in the HLA-B*5701 gene may be partly responsible.

If you are HLA-B5701 positive, the risk of severe side effects resulting from an abacavir treatment is significantly increased. Studies show that hypersensitivity reactions occur in 48 to 61% of people who are HLA-B5701 positive. People who are HLA-B*5701 negative hardly ever experience hypersensitivity reactions. Mild side effects may occur in people of either genotype.

HLA-B*5701 positivity is found in around 4 to 5% of the European population, in 0 to 2.5% of the population in China and Japan, and in 5 to 20% of the Indian population. Information about your genetic predisposition may therefore provide grounds for extra vigilance in relation to a treatment with abacavir.

Read more about HLA-B*5701 »