Abacavir (Ziagen)

Published January 23, 2001; Updated June 2018
Susa Coffey, MD
Selected References
19. Mallal  S, Nolan  D, Witt  C, Masel  G, Martin  AM, Moore  C, Sayer  D, Castley  A, Mamotte  C, Maxwell  D, James  I, Christiansen  FT.
Association between presence of HLA-B*5701, HLA-DR7, and HLA-DQ3 and hypersensitivity to HIV-1 reverse-transcriptase inhibitor abacavir. Lancet. 2002 Mar;359(9308):727-32
[PubMed ID: 11888582]
BACKGROUND: The use of abacavir--a potent HIV-1 nucleoside-analogue reverse-transcriptase inhibitor--is complicated by a potentially life-threatening hypersensitivity syndrome in about 5% of cases. Genetic factors influencing the immune response to abacavir might confer susceptibility. We aimed to find associations between MHC alleles and abacavir hypersensitivity in HIV-1-positive individuals treated with abacavir. METHODS: MHC region typing was done in the first 200 Western Australian HIV Cohort Study participants exposed to abacavir. Definite abacavir hypersensitivity was identified in 18 cases, and was excluded in 167 individuals with more than 6 weeks' exposure to the drug (abacavir tolerant). 15 individuals experienced some symptoms but did not meet criteria for abacavir hypersensitivity. p values were corrected for comparisons of multiple HLA alleles (p(c)) by multiplication of the raw p value by the estimated number of HLA alleles present within the loci examined. FINDINGS: HLA-B*5701 was present in 14 (78%) of the 18 patients with abacavir hypersensitivity, and in four (2%) of the 167 abacavir tolerant patients (odds ratio 117 [95% CI 29-481], p(c)<0.0001), and the HLA-DR7 and HLA-DQ3 combination was found in 13 (72%) of hypersensitive and five (3%) of tolerant patients (73 [20-268], p(c)<0.0001 ). HLA-B*5701, HLA-DR7, and HLA-DQ3 were present in combination in 13 (72%) hypersensitive patients and none of the tolerant patients (822 [43-15 675], p(c)<0.0001). Other MHC markers also present on the 57.1 ancestral haplotype to which the three markers above belong confirmed the presence of haplotype-specific linkage disequilibrium, and mapped potential susceptibility loci to a region bounded by C4A6 and HLA-C. Within the entire abacavir-exposed cohort (n=200), presence of HLA-B*5701, HLA-DR7, and HLA-DQ3 had a positive predictive value for hypersensitivity of 100%, and a negative predictive value of 97%. INTERPRETATION: Genetic susceptibility to abacavir hypersensitivity is carried on the 57.1 ancestral haplotype. In our population, withholding abacavir in those with HLA-B*5701, HLA-DR7, and HLA-DQ3 should reduce the prevalence of hypersensitivity from 9% to 2.5% without inappropriately denying abacavir to any patient.
20. Hetherington  S, Hughes  AR, Mosteller  M, Shortino  D, Baker  KL, Spreen  W, Lai  E, Davies  K, Handley  A, Dow  DJ, Fling  ME, Stocum  M, Bowman  C, Thurmond  LM, Roses  AD.
Genetic variations in HLA-B region and hypersensitivity reactions to abacavir. Lancet. 2002 Mar;359(9312):1121-2
[PubMed ID: 11943262]
Hypersensitivity to abacavir affects about 4% of patients who receive the drug for HIV-1 infection. We did a retrospective, case-control study to identify multiple markers in the vicinity of HLA-B associated with hypersensitivity reactions. HLA-B57 was present in 39 (46%) of 84 patients versus four (4%) of 113 controls (p<0 small middle dot0001). However, because of low numbers of women and other ethnic groups enrolled, these findings relate largely to white men. The lower sensitivity of HLA-B57 for predicting hypersensitivity to abacavir identified in this study compared with a previous report highlights that predictive values for markers will vary across populations. Clinical monitoring and management of hypersensitivity reactions among patients receiving abacavir must remain unchanged.
21. Rauch  A, Nolan  D, Martin  A, McKinnon  E, Almeida  C, Mallal  S.
Prospective genetic screening decreases the incidence of abacavir hypersensitivity reactions in the Western Australian HIV cohort study. Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Jul;43(1):99-102
[PubMed ID: 16758424]
Abacavir therapy is associated with significant drug hypersensitivity in approximately 8% of recipients, with retrospective studies indicating a strong genetic association with the HLA-B*5701 allele. In this prospective study, involving 260 abacavir-naive individuals (7.7% of whom were positive for HLA-B*5701), we confirm the usefulness of genetic risk stratification, with no cases of abacavir hypersensitivity among 148 HLA-B*5701-negative recipients.