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ABACAVIR/LAMIVUDINE SANDOZ 600 MG / 300 MG FILM-COATED TABLETS - summary of medicine characteristics

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Summary of medicine characteristics - ABACAVIR/LAMIVUDINE SANDOZ 600 MG / 300 MG FILM-COATED TABLETS



Abacavir/Lamivudine Sandoz 600 mg/300 mg Film-coated Tablets


Each film-coated tablet contains abacavir hydrochloride equivalent to 600 mg abacavir and 300 mg lamivudine.

Excipient(s) with known effect

sunset yellow (E110) 1.4 mg per tablet

For the full list of excipients see section 6.1.


Film-coated tablet

Orange coloured, modified capsule shaped, biconvex, 20.6 mm x 9.1 mm film-coated tablets, debossed with “300” on one side and “600” on other side.


4.1 Therapeutic indications

Abacavir/Lamivudine is indicated in antiretroviral combination therapy for the treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection in adults, adolescents and children weighing at least 25 kg (see sections 4.4 and 5.1).

Before initiating treatment with abacavir, screening for carriage of the HLA-B*5701 allele should be performed in any HIV-infected patient, irrespective of racial origin (see section 4.4). Abacavir should not be used in patients known to carry the HLA-B*5701 allele.

Therapy should be prescribed by a physician experienced in the management of HIV infection.


Adults, adolescents and children weighing at least 25 kg:

The recommended dose of Abacavir/Lamivudine is one tablet once daily.

Children Under 25 kg:

Abacavir/Lamivudine should not be administered to children who weigh less than 25 kg because it is a fixed-dose tablet that cannot be dose reduced.

Abacavir/Lamivudine is a fixed-dose tablet and should not be prescribed for patients requiring dose adjustments. Separate preparations of abacavir or lamivudine are available in cases where discontinuation or dose adjustment of one of the active substances is indicated. In these cases the physician should refer to the individual product information for these medicinal products.

Special Populations:


No pharmacokinetic data are currently available in patients over 65 years of age. Special care is advised in this age group due to age associated changes such as the decrease in renal function and alteration of haematological parameters.

Renal impairment:

Abacavir/Lamivudine is not recommended for use in patients with a creatinine clearance < 50 ml/min as necessary dose adjustment cannot be made (see section 5.2).

Hepatic impairment:

Abacavir is primarily metabolised by the liver. No clinical data are available in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment, therefore the use of abacavir/lamivudine is not recommended unless judged necessary. In patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score 5–6) close monitoring is required, including monitoring of abacavir plasma levels if feasible (see sections 4.4 and 5.2).

Paediatric population:

The safety and efficacy of abacavir/lamivudine in children weighing less than 25 kg has not been established.

Currently available data are described in section 4.8, 5.1 and 5.2 but no recommendation on posology can be made.

Method of administration

Oral use.

Abacavir/Lamivudine can be taken with or without food.

4.3 Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to the active substances or to any of the excipients listed in section 6.1. See sections 4.4 and 4.8.

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

Clinical Description of abacavir HSR

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Abacavir/Lamivudine contains abacavir and lamivudine, therefore any interactions identified for these individually are relevant to Abacavir/Lami­vudine. Clinical studies have shown that there are no clinically significant interactions between abacavir and lamivudine.

Abacavir is metabolised by UDP-glucuronyltran­sferase (UGT) enzymes and alcohol dehydrogenase; co-administration of inducers or inhibitors of UGT enzymes or with compounds eliminated through alcohol dehydrogenase could alter abacavir exposure. Lamivudine is cleared renally. Active renal secretion of lamivudine in the urine is mediated through organic cation transporters (OCTs); co-administration of lamivudine with OCT inhibitors may increase lamivudine exposure.

Abacavir and lamivudine are not significantly metabolised by cytochrome P450 enzymes (such as CYP 3A4, CYP 2C9 or CYP 2D6) nor do they inhibit or induce this enzyme system. Therefore, there is little potential for interactions with antiretroviral protease inhibitors, non-nucleosides and other medicinal products metabolised by major P450 enzymes.

Abacavir/Lamivudine should not be taken with any other medicinal products containing lamivudine (see section 4.4).

The list below should not be considered exhaustive but is representative of the classes studied.

Drugs by Therapeutic Area


Geometric mean change (%) (Possible mechanism)

Recommendation concerning co-administration


Didanosine /Abacavir

Interaction not studied.

No dosage adjustment necessary.


Interaction not studied.


Interaction not studied.


Zidovudine 300 mg single dose

Lamivudine 150 mg single dose

Lamivudine: AUC ^

Zidovudine : AUC ^


Due to similarities, Abacavir/Lamivudine should not be administered concomitantly with other cytidine analogues, such as



Trimethoprim/sul­famethoxaz ole


Interaction not studied.

No Abacavir/Lamivudine dosage adjustment necessary.

When concomitant administration with co-trimoxazole is warranted, patients should be monitored clinically. High doses of trimethoprim/sul­famethoxazo le for the treatment of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) and toxoplasmosis have not been studied and should be avoided.

Trimethoprim/sul­famethoxaz ole


trimoxazole)/La­mivudine (160 mg/800 mg once daily for 5 days/300 mg single dose)

Lamivudine: AUC |40%

Trimethoprim: AUC ^ Sulfamethoxazole: AUC ^

(organic cation transporter inhibition)



Interaction not studied.

Potential to slightly decrease abacavir plasma concentrations through UGT induction.

Insufficient data to recommend dosage adjustment.


Interaction not studied.



Interaction not studied.

Potential to slightly decrease abacavir plasma concentrations through UGT induction.

Insufficient data to recommend dosage adjustment.


Interaction not studied.

Phenytoin/ Ab acavir

Interaction not studied.

Potential to slightly decrease abacavir plasma concentrations through UGT induction.

Insufficient data to recommend dosage adjustment.

Monitor phenytoin concentrations.


Interaction not studied.



Interaction not studied.

No dosage adjustment


Interaction not studied.

Clinically significant interaction unlikely. Ranitidine eliminated only in part by renal organic cation transport system.



Interaction not studied.

No dosage adjustment necessary.


Interaction not studied.

Clinically significant interaction unlikely.

Cimetidine eliminated only in part by renal organic cation transport system.



Interaction not studied.

In vitro lamivudine inhibits the intracellular phosphorylation of cladribine leading to a potential risk of cladribine loss of efficacy in case of combination in the clinical setting. Some clinical findings also support a possible interaction between lamivudine and cladribine.

Therefore, the concomitant use of lamivudine with cladribine is not recommended (see section 4.4).



(40 to 90 mg once daily for 14 days/600 mg single dose, then 600 mg twice daily for 14 days)

Abacavir: AUC ^

Cmax f35%

Methadone: CL/F "22%

No Abacavir/Lamivudine dosage adjustment necessary.

Methadone dosage adjustment unlikely in majority of patients; occasionally methadone re-titration may be required.


Interaction not studied.


Retinoid compounds (e.g. isotretinoin)/A­bacavir

Interaction not studied.

Possible interaction given common pathway of elimination via alcohol

Insufficient data to recommend dosage adjustment.


Retinoid compounds (e.g.

isotretinoin)/La­mivudine No drug interaction studies

Interaction not studied.



(0.7 g/kg single dose/600 mg single dose)

Abacavir: AUC |41% Ethanol: AUC ~

(Inhibition of alcohol dehydrogenase)

No dosage adjustment necessary.


Interaction not studied.

Sorbitol solution (3.2 g, 10.2 g, 13.4g ) /Lamivudine

Single dose lamivudine oral solution 300mg


AUC f 14%, 32%, 36%

Cmax f 28%; 52%, 55%

When possible, avoid chronic coadministration of abacavir/lamivudine with medicinal products containing sorbitol or other osmotic acting polyalcohols or monosaccharide alcohols (e.g. xylitol, mannitol, lactitol,maltitol). Consider more frequent monitoring of HIV-1 viral load when chronic coadministration cannot be avoided.

Abbreviations: f = Increase; f =decrease; ^ = no significant change; AUC = area under the concentration versus time curve; Cmax = maximum observed concentration;

CL/F = apparent oral clearance

Paediatric population

Interaction studies have only been performed in adults.

4.6 Fertility, pregnancy and lactation


As a general rule, when deciding to use antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV infection in pregnant women and consequently for reducing the risk of HIV vertical transmission to the newborn, the animal data as well as the clinical experience in pregnant women should be taken into account.

Animal studies with abacavir have shown toxicity to the developing embryo and foetus in rats, but not in rabbits. Animal studies with lamivudine showed an increase in early embryonic deaths in rabbits but not in rats. (see section 5.3). The active ingredients of abacavir/lamivudine may inhibit cellular DNA replication and abacavir has been shown to be carcinogenic in animal models (see section 5.3). The clinical relevance of these findings is unknown. Placental transfer of abacavir and lamivudine has been shown to occur in humans.

In pregnant women treated with abacavir, more than 800 outcomes after first trimester exposure and more than 1000 outcomes after second and third trimester exposure indicate no malformative and foeto/neonatal effect. In pregnant women treated with lamivudine, more than 1000 outcomes from first trimester and more than 1000 outcomes from second and third trimester exposure indicate no malformative and foeto/neonatal effect. There are no data on the use of abacavir/lamivudine in pregnancy, however the malformative risk is unlikely in humans based on those data.

For patients co-infected with hepatitis who are being treated with a lamivudine containing medicinal product such as Abacavir/Lamivudine and subsequently become pregnant, consideration should be given to the possibility of a recurrence of hepatitis on discontinuation of lamivudine.

Mitochondrial dysfunction

Nucleoside and nucleotide analogues have been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo to cause a variable degree of mitochondrial damage. There have been reports of mitochondrial dysfunction in HIV-negative infants exposed in utero and/or post-natally to nucleoside analogues (see section 4.4).


Abacavir and its metabolites are excreted into the milk of lactating rats. Abacavir is also excreted into human milk.

Based on more than 200 mother/child pairs treated for HIV, serum concentrations of lamivudine in breastfed infants of mothers treated for HIV are very low (< 4% of maternal serum concentrations) and progressively decrease to undetectable levels when breastfed infants reach 24 weeks of age. There are no data available on the safety of abacavir and lamivudine when administered to babies less than three months old.

It is recommended that HIV infected women do not breast-feed their infants under any circumstances in order to avoid transmission of HIV.


Studies in animals showed that neither abacavir nor lamivudine had any effect on fertility (see section


4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

No studies on the effects on ability to drive and use machines have been performed.

The clinical status of the patient and the adverse reaction profile of abacavir/lamivudine should be borne in mind when considering the patient’s ability to drive or operate machinery.

4.8 Undesirable effects

Summary of the safety profile

The adverse reactions reported for abacavir/lamivudine were consistent with the known safety profiles of abacavir and lamivudine when given as separate medicinal products. For many of these adverse reactions it is unclear whether they are related to the active substance, the wide range of other medicinal products used in the management of HIV infection, or whether they are a result of the underlying disease process.

Many of the adverse reactions listed in the table below occur commonly (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, lethargy, rash) in patients with abacavir hypersensitivity. Therefore, patients with any of these symptoms should be carefully evaluated for the presence of this hypersensitivity (see section 4.4). Very rarely cases of erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis have been reported where abacavir hypersensitivity could not be ruled out. In such cases medicinal products containing abacavir should be permanently discontinued.

Tabulated list of adverse reactions

The adverse reactions considered at least possibly related to abacavir or lamivudine are listed by body system, organ class and absolute frequency. Frequencies are defined as very common (> 1/10), common (> 1/100 to < 1/10), uncommon (> 1/1000 to < 1/100), rare (> 1/10,000 to < 1/1000), very rare (< 1/10,000).

Body system



Blood and lymphatic systems disorders

Uncommon: Neutropenia and anaemia (both occasionally severe), thrombocytopenia

Very rare: Pure red cell aplasia

Immune system disorders

Common: hypersensitivity

Metabolism and nutrition disorders

Common: anorexia

Very rare: lactic acidosis

Very rare: lactic acidosis

Nervous system disorders

Common: headache

Common: Headache, insomnia.

Very rare: Cases of peripheral neuropathy (or paraesthesia)

Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal

Common: Cough, nasal symptoms

Gastrointestinal disorders

Common: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea

Rare: pancreatitis has been reported, but a causal relationship to abacavir treatment is

Common: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps, diarrhoea

Rare: Rises in serum amylase. Cases of pancreatitis have been reported

Hepatobiliary disorders

Uncommon: Transient rises in liver enzymes (AST, ALT), Rare: Hepatitis

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders

Common: rash (without systemic symptoms)

Very rare: erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis

Common: Rash, alopecia

Rare: Angioedema

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders

Common: Arthralgia, muscle disorders

Rare: Rhabdomyolysis

General disorders and administration site

Common: fever, lethargy, fatigue.

Common: fatigue, malaise, fever.

Description of selected adverse reactions

Abacavir hypersensitivity

The signs and symptoms of this HSR are listed below. These have been identified either from clinical studies or post marketing surveillance. Those reported in at least 10% of patients with a hypersensitivity reaction are in bold text.

Almost all patients developing hypersensitivity reactions will have fever and/or rash (usually maculopapular or urticarial) as part of the syndrome, however reactions have occurred without rash or fever. Other key symptoms include gastrointestinal, respiratory or constitutional symptoms such as lethargy and malaise.


Rash (usually maculopapular or urticarial)

Gastrointestinal tract

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, mouth ulceration

Respiratory tract

Dyspnoea, cough, sore throat, adult respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory failure


Fever, lethargy, malaise, oedema, lymphadenopathy, hypotension, conjunctivitis, anaphylaxis


Headache, paraesthesia




Elevated liver function tests, hepatitis, hepatic failure


Myalgia, rarely myolysis, arthralgia, elevated creatine phosphokinase


Elevated creatinine, renal failure

Symptoms related to this HSR worsen with continued therapy and can be lifethreatening and in rare instance, have been fatal.

Restarting abacavir following an abacavir HSR results in a prompt return of symptoms within hours. This recurrence of the HSR is usually more severe than on initial presentation, and may include life-threatening hypotension and death. Similar reactions have also occurred infrequently after restarting abacavir in patients who had only one of the key symptoms of hypersensitivity (see above) prior to stopping abacavir; and on very rare occasions have also been seen in patients who have restarted therapy with no preceding symptoms of a HSR (i.e., patients previously considered to be abacavir tolerant).

Metabolic parameters

Weight and levels of blood lipids and glucose may increase during antiretroviral therapy (see section 4.4).

Immune reactivation syndrome

In HIV-infected patients with severe immune deficiency at the time of initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy, an inflammatory reaction to asymptomatic or residual opportunistic infections may arise. Autoimmune disorders (such as Graves’ disease and autoimmune hepatitis) have also been reported to occur in the setting of immune reconstitution; however, the reported time to onset is more variable and these events can occur many months after initiation of treatment (see section 4.4).


Cases of osteonecrosis have been reported, particularly in patients with generally acknowledged risk factors, advanced HIV disease or long-term exposure to CART. The frequency of this is unknown (see section 4.4).

Paediatric population

The safety database to support once daily dosing in paediatric patients comes from the ARROW Trial (COL105677) in which 669 HIV-1 infected paediatric subjects (from 12 months to <17 years old) received abacavir and lamivudine either once or twice daily (see section 5.1). Within this population, 104 HIV-1 infected paediatric subjects weighing at least 25 kg received abacavir and lamivudine as abacavir/lamivudine once daily. No additional safety issues have been identified in paediatric subjects receiving either once or twice daily dosing compared to adults.

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme ( or search for MHRA Yellow Card in Google play or Apple App store.

4.9 Overdose


5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties

Pharmacotherapeutic group: Antivirals for systemic use, antivirals for treatment of HIV infections, combinations. ATC code: J05AR02.

Mechanism of action: Abacavir and lamivudine are NRTIs, and are potent selective inhibitors of HIV-1 and HIV-2 (LAV2 and EHO) replication. Both abacavir and lamivudine are metabolised sequentially by intracellular kinases to the respective 5'-triphosphate (TP) which are the active moieties.

Lamivudine- TP and carbovir-TP (the active triphosphate form of abacavir) are substrates for and competitive inhibitors of HIV reverse transcriptase (RT). However, their main antiviral activity is through incorporation of the monophosphate form into the viral DNA chain, resulting in chain termination. Abacavir and lamivudine triphosphates show significantly less affinity for host cell DNA polymerases.

No antagonistic effects in vitro were seen with lamivudine and other antiretrovirals (tested agents: didanosine, nevirapine and zidovudine). The antiviral activity of abacavir in cell culture was not antagonized when combined with the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) didanosine, emtricitabine, stavudine, tenofovir or zidovudine, the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) nevirapine, or the protease inhibitor (PI) amprenavir.

Antiviral Activity in vitro

Both abacavir and lamivudine have been shown to inhibit replication of laboratory strains and clinical isolates of HIV in a number of cell types, including transformed T cell lines, monocyte/macrophage derived lines and primary cultures of activated peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) and monocyte/macrop­hages. The concentration of drug necessary to effect viral replication by 50% (EC50) or 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) varied according to virus and host cell type.

The mean EC50 for abacavir against laboratory strains of HIV-1IIIB and HIV-1HXB2 ranged from 1.4 to 5.8 jrM. The median or mean EC50 values for lamivudine against laboratory strains of HIV-1 ranged from 0.007 to 2.3 jrM. The mean EC50 against laboratory strains of HIV-2 (LAV2 and EHO) ranged from 1.57 to 7.5 jrM for abacavir and from 0.16 to 0.51 jrM for lamivudine.

The EC50 values of abacavir against HIV-1 Group M subtypes (A-G) ranged from 0.002 to 1.179 jrM, against Group O from 0.022 to 1.21 jrM, and against HIV-2 isolates, from 0.024 to 0.49 jrM. For lamivudine, the EC50 values against HIV-1 subtypes (A-G) ranged from 0.001 to 0.170 jrM, against Group O from 0.030 to 0.160 jrM and against HIV-2 isolates from 0.002 to 0.120 jrM in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Baseline HIV-1 samples from therapy-naive subjects with no amino acid substitutions associated with resistance have been evaluated using either the multi-cycle Virco Antivirogram™ assay (n=92 from COL40263) or the the single cycle Monogram Biosciences PhenoSense™ assay (n=138 from ESS30009). These resulted in median EC50 values of 0.912 jrM (range: 0.493 to 5.017 jrM) and 1.26 ^M (range 0.72 to 1.91 jrM) respectively for abacavir, and median EC50 values of 0.429 jrM (range: 0.200 to 2.007 jrM) and 2.38 jrM (1.37 to 3.68 jrM) respectively for lamivudine.

Phenotypic susceptibility analyses of clinical isolates from antiretroviral-naïve patients with HIV-1 Group M non-B subtypes in three studies have each reported that all viruses were fully susceptible to both abacavir and lamivudine; one study of 104 isolates that included subtypes A and A1 (n=26), C (n=1), D (n=66), and the circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) AD (n=9), CD (n=1), and a complex intersubtype recombinant_cpx (n=1), a second study of 18 isolates including subtype G (n=14) and CRF_AG (n=4) from Nigeria, and a third study of six isolates (n=4 CRF_AG, n=1 A and n=1 undetermined) from Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire).

HIV-1 isolates (CRF01_AE, n=12; CRF02_AG, n=12; and Subtype C or CRF_AC, n=13) from 37 untreated patients in Africa and Asia were susceptible to abacavir

(IC50 fold changes <2.5), and lamivudine (IC50 fold changes<3.0), except for two CRF02_AG isolates with fold-changes of 2.9 and 3.4 for abacavir. Group O isolates from antiviral naïve patients tested for lamivudine activity were highly sensitive.

The combination of abacavir and lamivudine has demonstrated antiviral activity in cell culture against non-subtype B isolates and HIV-2 isolates with equivalent antiviral activity as for subtype B isolates.


In vivo resistance

Abacavir-resistant isolates of HIV-1 have been selected in-vitro in wild-type strain HIV-1 (HXB2) and are associated with specific genotypic changes in the RT codon region (codons M184V, K65R, L74V and Y115). Selection for the M184V mutation occurred first and resulted in a two fold increase in IC50. Continued passage in increasing concentrations of drug resulted in selection for double RT mutants 65R/184V and 74V/184V or triple RT mutant 74V/115Y/184V. Two mutations conferred a 7– to 8-fold change in abacavir susceptibility and combinations of three mutations were required to confer more than an 8-fold change in susceptibility.

Passage with a zidovudine resistant clinical isolate RTMC also selected for the 184V mutation.

HIV-1 resistance to lamivudine involves the development of a M184I or, more commonly, M184V amino acid change close to the active site of the viral RT. Passage of HIV-1 (HXB2) in the presence of increasing 3TC concentrations results in high-level (>100 to >500-fold) lamivudine-resistant viruses and the RT M184I or V mutation is rapidly selected. The IC50 for wild-type HXB2 is 0.24 to 0.6 jiM, while the IC50 for M184V containing HXB2 is >100 to 500 jiM.

Antiviral therapy According to Genotypic/Phe­notypic Resistance

In vivo resistance (Therapy-naïve patients)

The M184V or M184I variants arise in HIV-1 infected patients treated with lamivudine-containing antiretroviral therapy.

Isolates from most patients experiencing virological failure with a regimen containing abacavir in pivotal clinical trials showed either no NRTI-related changes from baseline (45%) or only M184V or M184I selection (45%). The overall selection frequency for M184V or M184I was high (54%), and less common was the selection of L74V (5%), K65R (1%) and Y115F (1%) (see table below). The inclusion of zidovudine in the regimen has been found to reduce the frequency of L74V and K65R selection in the presence of abacavir (with zidovudine: 0/40, without zidovudine: 15/192, 8%).


Abacavir + Combivir1

Abacavir + lamivudine + NNRTI

Abacavir + lamivudine + PI (or PI/ritonavir)


Number of






Number of Virological Failures





Number of On-



40 (100%)

51 (100%)2

141 (100%)

232 (100%)



1 (2%)

2 (1%)

3 (1%)



9 (18%)

3 (2%)

12 (5%)



2 (4%)


2 (1%)


34 (85%)

22 (43%)

70 (50%)

126 (54%)


3 (8%)

2 (4%)

4 (3%)

9 (4%)

1. Combivir is a fixed dose combination of lamivudine and zidovudine

2. Includes three non-virological failures and four unconfirmed virological failures.

3. Number of subjects with >1 Thymidine Analogue Mutations (TAMs).

TAMs might be selected when thymidine analogs are associated with abacavir. In a meta-analysis of six clinical trials, TAMs were not selected by regimens containing abacavir without zidovudine (0/127), but were selected by regimens containing abacavir and the thymidine analogue zidovudine (22/86, 26%).

In vivo resistance (Therapy experienced patients)

The M184V or M184I variants arise in HIV-1 infected patients treated with lamivudine-containing antiretroviral therapy and confer high-level resistance to lamivudine. In vitro data tend to suggest that the continuation of lamivudine in antiretroviral regimen despite the development of M184V might provide residual antiretroviral activity (likely through impaired viral fitness). The clinical relevance of these findings is not established. Indeed, the available clinical data are very limited and preclude any reliable conclusion in the field. In any case, initiation of susceptible NRTIs should always be preferred to maintenance of lamivudine therapy. Therefore, maintaining lamivudine therapy despite emergence of M184V mutation should only be considered in cases where no other active NRTIs are available.

Clinically significant reduction of susceptibility to abacavir has been demonstrated in clinical isolates of patients with uncontrolled viral replication, who have been pretreated with and are resistant to other nucleoside inhibitors. In a meta-analysis of five clinical trials where ABC was added to intensify therapy, of 166 subjects, 123 (74%) had M184V/I, 50 (30%) had T215Y/F, 45 (27%) had M41L, 30 (18%) had K70R and 25 (15%) had D67N. K65R was absent and L74V and Y115F were uncommon (<3%). Logistic regression modelling of the predictive value for genotype (adjusted for baseline plasma HIV-1RNA [vRNA], CD4+ cell count, number and duration of prior antiretroviral therapies) showed that the presence of 3 or more NRTI resistance-associated mutations was associated with reduced response at Week 4 (p=0.015) or 4 or more mutations at median Week 24 (p<0.012). In addition, the 69 insertion complex or the Q151M mutation, usually found in combination with A62V, V75I, F77L and F116Y, cause a high level of resistance to abacavir.

Baseline Reverse

Transcriptase Mutation

Week 4 (n = 166)


Median Change vRNA (log10 c/mL)

Percent with <400 copies/mL vRNA





M184V alone




Any one NRTI mutation




Any two NRTI- associated mutations




Any three NRTI-associated mutations




Four or more NRTI-associated mutations




Phenotypic resistance and cross-resistance

Phenotypic resistance to abacavir requires M184V with at least one other abacavir-selected mutation, or M184V with multiple TAMs. Phenotypic cross- resistance to other NRTIs with M184V or M184I mutation alone is limited. Zidovudine, didanosine, stavudine and tenofovir maintain their antiretroviral activities against such HIV-1 variants. The presence of M184V with K65R does give rise to cross-resistance between abacavir, tenofovir, didanosine and lamivudine, and M184V with L74V gives rise to cross-resistance between abacavir, didanosine and lamivudine. The presence of M184V with Y115F gives rise to cross-resistance between abacavir and lamivudine. Readily available genotypic drug resistance interpretation algorithms and commercially available susceptibility tests have established clinical cut offs for reduced activity for abacavir and lamivudine as separate drug entities that predict susceptibility, partial susceptibility or resistance based upon either direct measurement of susceptibility or by calculation of the HIV-1 resistance phenotype from the viral genotype. Appropriate use of abacavir and lamivudine can be guided using these currently recommended resistance algorithms.

Cross-resistance between abacavir or lamivudine and antiretrovirals from other classes e.g. PIs or NNRTIs is unlikely.

Clinical experience

Clinical experience with the combination of abacavir and lamivudine as a once daily regimen is mainly based on four studies in treatment-naive subjects, CNA30021, EPZ104057 (HEAT study), ACTG5202, and CNA109586 (ASSERT study) and two studies in treatment-experienced subjects, CAL30001 and ESS30008.

Therapy-naive patients

The combination of abacavir and lamivudine as a once daily regimen is supported by a 48 weeks multi-centre, double-blind, controlled study (CNA30021) of 770 HIV-infected, therapy-naive adults. These were primarily asymptomatic HIV infected patients (CDC stage A). They were randomised to receive either abacavir (ABC) 600 mg once daily or 300 mg twice daily, in combination with lamivudine 300 mg once daily and efavirenz 600 mg once daily. The results are summarised by subgroup in the table below:

Efficacy Outcome at Week 48 in CNA30021 by baseline HIV-1 RNA and CD4

Categories (ITTe TLOVR ART naive subjects).

ABC QD +3TC+EFV (n=384)

ABC BID +3TC+EFV (n=386)

ITT-E Population TLOVR analysis

Proportion with HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/ml

All Subjects

253/384 (66%)

261/386 (68%)

Baseline RNA category <100,000 copies/mL

141/217 (65%)

145/217 (67%)

Baseline RNA category >=100,000 copies/mL

112/167 (67%)

116/169 (69%)

Baseline CD4 category <50

3/ 6 (50%)

4/6 (67%)

Baseline CD4 category 50–100

21/ 40 (53%)

23/37 (62%)

Baseline CD4 category 101–200

57/ 85 (67%)

43/67 (64%)

Baseline CD4 category 201–350

101/143 (71%)

114/170 (67%)

Baseline CD4 category >350

71/109 (65%)

76/105 (72%)

>1 log reduction in HIV RNA or

<50 cp/mL All Patients

372/384 (97%)

373/386 (97%)

Similar clinical success (point estimate for treatment difference: –1.7, 95% CI –8.4, 4.9) was observed for both regimens. From these results, it can be concluded with 95% confidence that the true difference is no greater than 8.4% in favour of the twice daily regimen. This potential difference is sufficiently small to draw an overall conclusion of non-inferiority of abacavir once daily over abacavir twice daily.

There was a low, similar overall incidence of virologic failure (viral load > 50 copies/ml) in both the once and twice daily treatment groups (10% and 8% respectively). In the small sample size for genotypic analysis, there was a trend toward a higher rate of NRTI-associated mutations in the once daily versus the twice daily abacavir regimens. No firm conclusion could be drawn due to the limited data derived from this study.

There are conflicting data in some comparative studies with abacavir/lamivudine i.e. HEAT, ACTG5202 and ASSERT:

EPZ104057 (HEAT study) was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-matched, 96 week, multi-centre study with the primary objective of evaluating the relative efficacy of abacavir/lamivudine (ABC/3TC, 600mg/300mg) and tenofovir /emtricitabine (TDF/FTC, 300mg/200mg), each given once-daily in combination with lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r, 800mg/200mg) in HIV-infected, therapy-naive adults. The primary efficacy analysis was performed at week 48 with study continuation to week 96 and demonstrated non-inferiority. The results are summarised below:

Virologic Response Based on Plasma HIV-1 RNA < 50 copies/ml

ITT-Exposed Population M=F switch included

Virologic Response

ABC/3TC +LPV/r (N = 343)

TDF/FTC + LPV/r (N = 345)

Week 48

Week 96

Week 48

Week 96

Overall response (stratified by





baseline HIV-1 RNA)





Response by Baseline HIV-1 RNA





<100,000 c/ml





Response by Baseline HIV-1 RNA





>100,000 c/ml





A similar virologic response was observed for both regimens (point estimate for treatment difference at week 48: 0.39%, 95% CI: –6.63, 7.40).

ACTG 5202 study was a, multi-centre, comparative, randomised study of doubleblind abacavir/lamivudine or emtricitabine/te­nofovir in combination with open-label efavirenz or atazanavir/ri­tonavir in treatment-naïve HIV-1 infected patients. Patients were stratified at screening based on plasma HIV-1 RNA levels < 100,000 and > 100,000 copi­es/mL.

An interim analysis from ACTG 5202 revealed that abacavir/lamivudine was associated with a statistically significantly higher risk of virological failure as compared to emtricitabine/te­nofovir (defined as viral load >1000 copies/mL at or after 16 weeks and before 24 weeks or HIV-RNA level >200 copies/mL at or after 24 weeks) in subjects with a screening viral load >100,000 copies/mL (estimated hazard ratio: 2.33, 95% CI: 1.46, 3.72, p=0.0003). The Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) recommended that consideration be given to change in the therapeutic management of all subjects in the high viral load stratum due to the efficacy differences observed. The subjects in the low viral load stratum remained blinded and on-study.

Analysis of the data from subjects in the low viral load stratum showed no demonstrable difference between the nucleoside backbones in the proportion of patients free of virological failure at week 96. The results are presented below:

– 88.3% with ABC/3TC vs 90.3% with TDF/FTC when taken with

atazanavir/ri­tonovir as third drug, treatment difference –2.0% (95% CI –7.5%, 3.4%),

– 87.4% with ABC/3TC vs 89.2% with TDF/FTC, when taken with efavirenz as

third drug, treatment difference –1.8% (95% CI –7.5%, 3.9%).

CNA109586 (ASSERT study), a multi-centre, open label, randomised study of abacavir/lamivudine (ABC/3TC, 600mg/300mg) and tenofovir/emtri­citabine (TDF/FTC, 300mg/200mg), each given once daily with efavirenz (EFV, 600mg) in ART naïve, HLA-B*5701 negative, HIV-1 infected adults. The virologic results are summarised in the table below:

Virologic Response at Week 48 ITT-Exposed Population < 50 copies/ml TLOVR

ABC/3TC + EFV (N =192)

TDF/FTC + EFV (N =193)

Overall response

114/192 (59%)

137/193 (71%)

Response by Baseline HIV-1 RNA <100,000 c/mL

61/95 (64%)

62/83 (75%)

Response by Baseline HIV-1 RNA >100,000 c/mL

53/97 (55%)

75/110 (68%)

At week 48, a lower rate of virologic response was observed for ABC/3TC compared to TDF/FTC (point estimate for the treatment difference: 11.6%, 95% CI: 2.2, 21.1).

Therapy-experienced patients

Data from two studies, CAL30001 and ESS30008 demonstrated that abacavir/lamivudine once daily has similar virological efficacy to abacavir 300 mg twice daily plus lamivudine 300 mg once daily or 150 mg twice daily in therapy-experienced patients.

In study CAL30001, 182 treatment-experienced patients with virologic failure were randomised and received treatment with either abacavirlamivudine once daily or abacavir 300 mg twice daily plus lamivudine 300 mg once daily, both in combination with tenofovir and a PI or an NNRTI for 48 weeks. Similar reductions in HIV-1 RNA as measured by average area under the curve minus baseline were observed, indicating that the abacavir/lamivudine group was non-inferior to the abacavir plus lamivudine twice daily group (AAUCMB, –1.65 log10 copies/ml versus –1.83 log10 copies/ml respectively, 95% CI –0.13, 0.38). Proportions with HIV-1 RNA < 50 copies/ml (50% versus 47%) and < 400 copies/ml (54% versus 57%) at week 48 were also similar in each group (ITT population). However, as there were only moderately experienced patients included in this study with an imbalance in baseline viral load between the arms, these results should be interpreted with caution.

In study ESS30008, 260 patients with virologic suppression on a first line therapy regimen containing abacavir 300 mg plus lamivudine 150 mg, both given twice daily and a PI or NNRTI, were randomised to continue this regimen or switch to abacavir/lamivudine plus a PI or NNRTI for 48 weeks. Results at 48 weeks indicated that the abacavir/lamivudine group was associated with a similar virologic outcome (non-inferior) compared to the abacavir plus lamivudine group, based on proportions of subjects with HIV-1 RNA < 50 copies/ml (90% and 85% respectively, 95% CI –2.7, 13.5).

A genotypic sensitivity score (GSS) has not been established by the MAH for the abacavir/lamivudine combination. The proportion of treatment-experienced patients in the CAL30001 study with HIV- RNA <50 copies/mL at Week 48 by genotypic sensitivity score in optimized background therapy (OBT) are tabulated. The impact of major IAS-USA defined mutations to abacavir or lamivudine and multi-NRTI resistance associated mutations to the number of baseline mutations on response was also evaluated. The GSS was obtained from the Monogram reports with susceptible virus ascribed the values ‘1–4’ based upon the numbers of drugs in the regimen and with virus with reduced susceptibility ascribed the value ‘0’. Genotypic sensitivity scores were not obtained for all patients at baseline. Similar proportions of patients in the once-daily and twice-daily abacavir arms of CAL30001 had GSS scores of <2 or >2 and successfully suppressed to <50 copies/mL by Week 48.

Proportion of Patients in CAL30001 with <50 copies/mL at Week 48 by Genotypic Sensitivity Score in OBT and Number of Baseline Mutations



FDC QD (n=94)

Number of Baseline ,, i..      1


+3TC QD (n=88)

Genotypic SS in OBT







10/24 (42%)

3/24 (13%)

7/24 (29%)


12/26 (46%)


29/56 (52%)

21/56 (38%)

8/56 (14%)


27/56 (48%)


8/14 (57%)

6/14 (43%)

2/14 (14%)


2/6 (33%)


47/94 (50%)

30/94 (32%)

17/94 (18%)


41/88 (47%)

1 Major IAS-USA defined mutations to Abacavir or Lamivudine and multi-NRTI resistance associated mutations

For the CNA109586 (ASSERT) and CNA30021 studies in treatment-naive patients, genotype data was obtained for only a subset of patients at screening or at baseline, as well as for those patients who met virologic failure criteria. The partial patient subset of data available for CNA30021 is tabulated below, but must be interpreted with caution. Drug susceptibility scores were assigned for each patient’s viral genotype utilising the ANRS 2009 HIV-1 genotypic drug resistance algorithm. Each susceptible drug in the regimen received a score of 1 and drugs for which the ANRS algorithm predicts resistance were ascribed the value ‘0’.

Proportion of Patients in CNA30021with <50 cps/mL at Week 48 by Genotypic

Sensitivity Score in OBT and Number of Baseline Mutations

ABC QD + 3TC QD + EFV QD (N=384)

Number of Baseline Mutations1

ABC BID+ 3TC QD + EFV QD (N=386)

Genotypic SS in OBT







2/6 (33%)

2/6 (33%)



3/6 (50%)


58/119 (49%)

57/119 (48%)

1/119 (<1%)


57/114 (50%)


60/125 (48%)

59/125 (47%)

1/125 (<1%)


60/120 (50%)

1 Major IAS-USA (Dec 2009) defined mutations for Abacavir or Lamivudine

Paediatric population

A comparison of a regimen including once daily versus twice daily dosing of abacavir and lamivudine was undertaken within a randomised, multicentre, controlled study of HIV-infected, paediatric patients. 1206 paediatric patients aged 3 months to 17 years enrolled in the ARROW Trial (COL105677) and were dosed according to the weight – band dosing recommendations in the World Health Organisation treatment guidelines (Antiretroviral therapy of HIV infection in infants and children, 2006). After 36 weeks on a regimen including twice daily abacavir and lamivudine, 669 eligible subjects were randomised to either continue twice daily dosing or switch to once daily abacavir and lamivudine for at least an additional 96 weeks. Within this population, 104 patients, weighing at least 25 kg, received 600 mg abacavir and 300 mg lamivudine as abacavir/lamivudine once daily, with a median duration of exposure of 596 days.

Among the 669 subjects randomized in this study (from 12 months to <17 years old), the abacavir/lamivudine once daily dosing group was demonstrated to be non-inferior to the twice daily group according to the pre-specified non-inferiority margin of –12%, for the primary endpoint of <80 c/mL at Week 48 as well as at Week 96 (secondary endpoint) and all other thresholds tested (<200c/mL, <400c/mL, <1000c/mL), which all fell well within this non-inferiority margin. Subgroup analyses testing for heterogeneity of once versus twice daily demonstrated no significant effect of sex, age, or viral load at randomisation. Conclusions supported non-inferiority regardless of analysis method.

Among the 104 patients who received abacavir/lami­vudine, including the ones who were between 40 kg and 25 kg, the viral suppression was similar.

5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties

The fixed-dose combination tablet of abacavir/lamivudine (FDC) has been shown to be bioequivalent to lamivudine and abacavir administered separately. This was demonstrated in a single dose, 3-way crossover bioequivalence study of FDC (fasted) versus 2 × 300 mg abacavir tablets plus 2 × 150 mg lamivudine tablets (fasted) versus FDC administered with a high fat meal, in healthy volunteers (n = 30). In the fasted state there was no significant difference in the extent of absorption, as measured by the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) and maximal peak concentration (Cmax), of each component. There was also no clinically significant food effect observed between administration of FDC in the fasted or fed state. These results indicate that FDC can be taken with or without food. The pharmacokinetic properties of lamivudine and abacavir are described below.


Abacavir and lamivudine are rapidly and well absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract following oral administration. The absolute bioavailability of oral abacavir and lamivudine in adults is about 83% and 80–85% respectively. The mean time to maximal serum concentrations (tmax) is about 1.5 hours and 1.0 hour for abacavir and lamivudine, respectively. Following a single dose of 600 mg of abacavir, the mean (CV) Cmax is 4.26 gg/ml (28%) and the mean (CV) AUC, is 11.95 gg.h/ml (21%). Following multiple-dose oral administration of lamivudine 300 mg once daily for seven days, the mean (CV) steady-state Cmax is 2.04 gg/ml (26%) and the mean (CV) AUC24 is 8.87 gg.h/ml (21%).


Intravenous studies with abacavir and lamivudine showed that the mean apparent volume of distribution is 0.8 and 1.3 l/kg respectively. Plasma protein binding studies in vitro indicate that abacavir binds only low to moderately (~49%) to human plasma proteins at therapeutic concentrations. Lamivudine exhibits linear pharmacokinetics over the therapeutic dose range and displays limited plasma protein binding in vitro (< 36%). This indicates a low likelihood for interactions with other medicinal products through plasma protein binding displacement.

Data show that abacavir and lamivudine penetrate the central nervous system (CNS) and reach the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Studies with abacavir demonstrate a CSF to plasma AUC ratio of between 30 to 44%. The observed values of the peak concentrations are 9 fold greater than the IC50 of abacavir of 0.08 iig/ml or 0.26 liM when abacavir is given at 600 mg twice daily. The mean ratio of CSF/serum lamivudine concentrations 2–4 hours after oral administration was approximately 12%. The true extent of CNS penetration of lamivudine and its relationship with any clinical efficacy is unknown.


Abacavir is primarily metabolised by the liver with approximately 2% of the administered dose being renally excreted, as unchanged compound. The primary pathways of metabolism in man are by alcohol dehydrogenase and by glucuronidation to produce the 5’-carboxylic acid and 5’-glucuronide which account for about 66% of the administered dose. These metabolites are excreted in the urine.

Metabolism of lamivudine is a minor route of elimination. Lamivudine is predominately cleared by renal excretion of unchanged lamivudine. The likelihood of metabolic drug interactions with lamivudine is low due to the small extent of hepatic metabolism (5–10%).


The mean half-life of abacavir is about 1.5 hours. Following multiple oral doses of abacavir 300 mg twice a day there is no significant accumulation of abacavir. Elimination of abacavir is via hepatic metabolism with subsequent excretion of metabolites primarily in the urine. The metabolites and unchanged abacavir account for about 83% of the administered abacavir dose in the urine. The remainder is eliminated in the faeces.

The observed lamivudine half-life of elimination is 5 to 7 hours. The mean systemic clearance of lamivudine is approximately 0.32 l/h/kg, predominantly by renal clearance (> 70%) via the organic cationic transport system. Studies in patients with renal impairment show lamivudine elimination is affected by renal dysfunction. Abacavir/Lamivudine is not recommended for use in patients with a creatinine clearance < 50 ml/min as necessary dose adjustment cannot be made (see section 4.2).

Intracellular pharmacokinetics

In a study of 20 HIV-infected patients receiving abacavir 300 mg twice daily, with only one 300 mg dose taken prior to the 24 hour sampling period, the geometric mean terminal carbovir-TP intracellular half-life at steady-state was 20.6 hours, compared to the geometric mean abacavir plasma half-life in this study of 2.6 hours. In a crossover study in 27 HIV-infected patients, intracellular carbovir-TP exposures were higher for the abacavir 600 mg once daily regimen (AUC24,ss + 32 %, Cmax24,ss + 99 % and Ctrough + 18 %) compared to the 300 mg twice daily regimen. For patients receiving lamivudine 300 mg once daily, the terminal intracellular half-life of lamivudine-TP was prolonged to 16–19 hours, compared to the plasma lamivudine half-life of 5–7 hours. In a crossover study in 60 healthy volunteers, intracellular lamivudine-TP pharmacokinetic parameters were similar (AUC24,ss and Cmax24,ss) or lower (Ctrough — 24 %) for the lamivudine 300 mg once daily regimen compared to the lamivudine 150 mg twice daily regimen. Overall, these data support the use of lamivudine 300 mg and abacavir 600 mg once daily for the treatment of HIV-infected patients. Additionally, the efficacy and safety of this combination given once daily has been demonstrated in a pivotal clinical study (CNA30021– See Clinical experience).

Special patient populations

Hepatic impairment

Pharmacokinetic data has been obtained for abacavir and lamivudine separately.

Abacavir is metabolised primarily by the liver. The pharmacokinetics of abacavir have been studied in patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score 5–6) receiving a single 600 mg dose. AUC value was 24.1 (10.4 to 54.8) ug.h/ml. The results showed that there was a mean (90%CI) increase of 1.89 fold [1.32; 2.70] in the abacavir AUC, and 1.58 [1.22; 2.04] fold in the elimination half-life. No recommendation on dose reduction is possible in patients with mild hepatic impairment due to substantial variability of abacavir exposure.

Data obtained in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment show that lamivudine pharmacokinetics are not significantly affected by hepatic dysfunction. Based on data obtained for abacavir, abacavir and lamivudine is not recommended in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment.

Renal impairment

Pharmacokinetic data have been obtained for lamivudine and abacavir alone.

Abacavir is primarily metabolised by the liver with approximately 2% of abacavir excreted unchanged in the urine. The pharmacokinetics of abacavir in patients with end-stage renal disease is similar to patients with normal renal function. Studies with lamivudine show that plasma concentrations (AUC) are increased in patients with renal dysfunction due to decreased clearance. Abacavir/Lamivudine is not recommended for use in patients with a creatinine clearance < 50 ml/min as necessary dose adjustment cannot be made.


No pharmacokinetic data are available in patients over 65 years of age.


Abacavir is rapidly and well absorbed from oral formulations when administered to children. Paediatric pharmacokinetic studies have demonstrated that once daily dosing provides equivalent AUC24 to twice daily dosing of the same total daily dose for both oral solution and tablet formulations.

The absolute bioavailability of lamivudine (approximately 58 to 66%) was lower and more variable in paediatric patients under 12 years of age. However, paediatric pharmacokinetic studies with tablet formulations have demonstrated that once daily dosing provides equivalent AUC24 to twice daily dosing of the same total daily dose.

5.3 Preclinical safety data


6.1 List of excipients

Tablet core

magnesium stearate

microcrystalline cellulose

crospovidone (Type A)

povidone (K-30)

iron oxide yellow (E172)

Tablet coating

hypromellose HPMC 2910 –3mPas

hypromellose HPMC 2910 –6mPas

titanium dioxide (E171)

macrogol 400,

polysorbate 80

sunset yellow aluminium lake (E110).

6.2 Incompatibilities

Not applicable

6.3 Shelf life

2 years

6.4 Special precautions for storage

Store below 25°C.

6.5 Nature and contents of container

30, 60 or 90 tablets in opaque white (PVC/Aclar/A1 or PVC/PVDC/A1) blister packs and 30 tablets in white (high density polyethylene) bottles with a polypropylene child resistance closure with printed liner, induction heat sealed and labelled. The bottles contain an activated carbon sachet (100cc) or an activated carbon sachet and oxygen absorber (120cc) to control the moisture in the bottle.

Multipacks containing 60 (2 packs of 30) or 90 (3 packs of 30) tablets in opaque white (PVC/Aclar/A1 or PVC/PVDC/A1) blister packs.

Not all pack sizes may be marketed.

6.6 Special precautions for disposal

6.6 Special precautions for disposal

No special requirements for disposal.