Epzicom (Abacavir Sulfate/Lamivudine) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Epzicom
Epzicom is the brand name for an antiviral medication that contains Abacavir and Lamivudine. It is used for the treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. Patients buy Epzicom to prevent the HIV virus from spreading and multiplying in their bodies. However, Epzicom is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Side Effects for Epzicom
Medication must be stopped immediately if a patient has an allergy to Epzicom. Inform your doctor as soon as possible about the negative symptoms (if you experience any). The first symptoms of an allergic reaction to Epzicom are rash, fever, fatigue, body ache, nausea and vomiting. It can also cause stomach pain, diarrhea, sore throat, cough and shortness of breath. There may be side effects that are more serious as well, which may not be due to an allergy. These symptoms include low fever, loss of appetite, stomach pain, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Epzicom may also cause lactic acidosis, which is characterized by muscle pain, weakness, and numbness or a cold feeling in the arms and legs. It can also cause breathing trouble, nausea with vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and fast or uneven heart rate. Other symptoms include white patches and sores inside the mouth or on the lips, or even flu-like symptoms.
Epzicom may also involve mild side effects in some patients. These side effects include the change in location and shape of fat. The fat in your leg, face, arms, trunk, breasts, and neck can get redistributed as a side effect of this medication. Other less serious symptoms are headaches, anxiety, depression, and mild sleep problems.
When you buy Epzicom, make sure that you don’t take any other medications that contain Lamivudine and Abacavir. Also, using Epzicom does not stop you from spreading HIV to others, so avoid sharing razors and toothbrushes and having unprotected sex. It is recommended that you talk to your doctor to find out more about how to prevent HIV transmission.
If a patient has already shown symptoms to other drugs that contain Abacavir or other components in Epzicom, then it is not to be taken. Following a case of any hypersensitive reaction to Abacavir, a doctor should never prescribe Epzicom for a patient as doing so may cause fatal reactions in the body. Epzicom tablets are also not administered to patients with hepatic impairment.
Epzicom is a fixed dose tablet, and the recommended dosage for adults is one tablet a day, along with other retroviral agents. Once you have started taking the medication, make sure that you don’t stop in between. Epzicom may cause allergic reactions if that happens. If you have stopped taking the medication, consult your doctor before you buy Epzicom once again. If you miss a dose, have it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one.
If you are taking medications like Methadone, Ribavirin or Interferon, you must inform your doctor before you buy Epzicom. Medicines like Combivir, Epivir, Ziagen and Trizivir already have Abacavir and Lamivudine. Consult your doctor if you are already on any of these medicines.
There can be a few more medications that can interact with Epzicom. For this reason, it is best to inform your doctor about your complete medication schedule. This would include vitamin pills, herbal products, and prescription medicines.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.