Triumeq (abacavir/dolutegravir/lamivudine) is a prescription brand-name medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat HIV in adults, and in children who weigh at least 40 kilograms (88 pounds). Triumeq is typically taken long term.

Here are some fast facts on Triumeq:

Like other drugs, Triumeq can cause side effects. Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects. For a general overview of Triumeq, see this article.

Triumeq can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Triumeq in clinical trials:

Mild side effects can occur with Triumeq use. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Triumeq’s medication guide.

Mild side effects that have been reported with Triumeq include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Triumeq and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

Triumeq may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Triumeq’s medication guide.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Triumeq, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms can include:

  • Lactic acidosis (high amounts of lactic acid in your blood). Symptoms can include:
    • muscle pain
    • trouble breathing
    • dizziness
    • increased heart rate
  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • pain in your jaw, neck, back, or arms
    • dizziness
    • trouble breathing
  • Liver problems.*
  • Kidney-related side effects.*
  • Severe depression.*
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome (an immune system reaction that can cause symptoms of a past infection or condition to return).†
  • Worsening of existing hepatitis B.*‡
  • Allergic reaction.*‡

* To learn more about this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.
† Symptoms of immune reconstitution syndrome can vary depending on the type of condition that develops.
Triumeq has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.

Triumeq may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

Does Triumeq have any long-term side effects?

Possibly. Triumeq can cause side effects that affect your kidneys or your liver. These side effects can be long term and, in certain cases, damage to your kidneys or liver may not be reversible.

If you have concerns about long-term side effects of Triumeq, talk with your doctor.

Is weight gain a side effect of Triumeq?

It’s not likely. Weight gain wasn’t reported as a side effect during clinical studies of Triumeq.

There have been reports of weight gain in people using Triumeq since the drug was released. But it’s unclear how often this may have occurred, or whether Triumeq was the cause of the weight gain.

If you have questions about weight gain while you’re taking Triumeq, talk with your doctor.

If I have liver problems, can I take Triumeq?

It depends. If you have moderate or severe liver problems, you should not take Triumeq. This is because it’s not known if the drug is safe or effective for people with these conditions. Examples of these conditions include cirrhosis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

In fact, if you have hepatitis B (a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus), it’s important to note that Triumeq also has a boxed warning about worsening of this condition. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.

If you have a mild liver condition, your doctor may have you take the active drugs in Triumeq (abacavir/dolutegravir/lamivudine) separately, instead of Triumeq. This is because one of Triumeq’s active drugs (abacavir) affects the liver. So you may need a decreased dosage of this drug if you have a mild liver condition, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Before starting Triumeq, talk with your doctor about any liver problems you have. They can determine if Triumeq is right for you.

Learn more about some of the side effects that Triumeq may cause.

Kidney-related side effects

Triumeq can cause serious kidney problems. These may include decreased kidney function and kidney failure. A small percentage of people in clinical studies of Triumeq had side effects related to their kidneys.

Kidney problems can cause symptoms such as:

  • swelling in the feet or legs
  • producing less urine than usual
  • confusion

What you can do

If you experience symptoms of kidney problems while taking Triumeq, talk with your doctor right away. They may recommend a treatment other than Triumeq.

Depression

Depression is a possible side effect of Triumeq. This condition occurred in a small number of people taking the drug in clinical studies.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • reduced interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
  • decreased sexual desire
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • changes in appetite
  • unintentional weight loss or gain

What you can do

If you’re concerned about depression while taking Triumeq, talk with your doctor. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, call your doctor right away. It’s important to get treatment for this condition.

Liver problems

Liver problems have occurred in people taking dolutegravir, which is one of the active drugs in Triumeq.* These problems include fatty liver disease, worsening liver function, and liver failure.

In general, liver problems can cause the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes)
  • dark urine
  • tiredness or weakness
  • pale-colored stool
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain that’s felt under the ribs, on the right side of the body

Triumeq also has a boxed warning about worsening of existing hepatitis B, which is a liver infection. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see “Worsening of existing hepatitis B” just below.

Note: If you have moderate to severe liver problems, you should not take Triumeq. See the “Triumeq precautions” section below for details.

* In addition to dolutegravir, Triumeq also contains the active drugs abacavir and lamivudine.

What you can do

Tell your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing any symptoms of liver problems. Your doctor may perform some tests to determine how seriously your liver function is affected. They may also recommend stopping Triumeq, depending on how severe your symptoms are.

Worsening of existing hepatitis B

In people who have both HIV and hepatitis B, stopping Triumeq may make hepatitis B symptoms worse. In fact, Triumeq has a boxed warning about this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. Signs that your infection is flaring up after stopping Triumeq can include:

What you can do

Be sure to talk with your doctor before you stop taking Triumeq, especially if you have hepatitis B. They can help reduce the risk of your hepatitis B getting worse after you stop the drug.

If you have hepatitis B and you stop Triumeq, you’ll be monitored for several months after stopping the drug. Your doctor may have you take medication to keep your hepatitis B from getting worse.

Allergic reaction

Triumeq can cause allergic reactions. In fact, Triumeq has a boxed warning about serious allergic reactions (also called hypersensitivity reactions). A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. Some allergic reactions to Triumeq in clinical studies were serious or fatal.

If you have a specific gene called HLA-B*5701, you’re more likely to have an allergic reaction to Triumeq. If you know that you have this gene, or if you’ve had an allergic reaction to Triumeq or any of its ingredients, you should not use Triumeq. (Triumeq contains the active drugs abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine.)

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • rash
  • itching
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

If you or your doctor think you’re having an allergic reaction to Triumeq, your doctor will likely have you stop taking the drug. However, it’s important to note that you should not stop taking Triumeq without first talking with your doctor.

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to reduce your symptoms. They can also determine whether you should keep taking Triumeq.

If your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Triumeq may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about any health problems before you start Triumeq. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

Boxed warnings

This drug has boxed warnings about allergic reaction and worsening of existing hepatitis B. Boxed warnings are serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see the “Side effect specifics” section above.

Other precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Triumeq. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The conditions and factors to consider include:

Liver problems. You should not take Triumeq if you have moderate or severe liver problems. Examples of these conditions include liver failure or hepatitis C. It’s not known if the drug is safe or effective for people with these conditions. Talk with your doctor about other treatments that may be right for you.

If you have a mild liver condition, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, your doctor may have you take Triumeq’s active drugs separately, instead of Triumeq. This is because one of Triumeq’s active drugs affects the liver. So you may need a decreased dosage of this drug if you have a mild liver condition.

Kidney conditions. If you have kidney problems, you may be able to take Triumeq. But this depends on your kidney function. One of the active drugs in Triumeq can cause kidney problems, including decreased kidney function and kidney failure. Make sure to talk with your doctor about whether Triumeq treatment is right for you.

Depression. Depression has been reported by people taking Triumeq. If you have a history of depression, talk with your doctor before taking Triumeq. They can determine if this drug is safe for you.

Heart problems. Heart attacks have occurred in some people taking Triumeq. If you have heart problems, you may be more likely to have a heart attack. Make sure to talk with your doctor about your risk for heart problems before starting Triumeq.

Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not recommended if you have HIV. See “Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Triumeq” just below for details.

Allergic reaction. You should not take Triumeq if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to Triumeq or any of its ingredients. Talk with your doctor about other treatments that may be better choices for your HIV.

Alcohol use with Triumeq

Drinking alcohol while taking Triumeq may increase certain side effects of the drug. These include nausea, dizziness, and headache.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink while you’re taking Triumeq.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Triumeq

Triumeq is recommended as a treatment option for HIV during pregnancy. However, if you have HIV, it’s recommended that you do not breastfeed. This is because HIV can be passed to a child through breast milk. Talk with your doctor about other healthy ways to feed your child.

Side effects can occur while taking Triumeq, but they’re usually mild. Most mild side effects of the drug are temporary and don’t require medical attention.

You should talk with your doctor if you experience symptoms of any of the following:

These side effects could be serious and require medical attention.

If you’d like to learn more about Triumeq, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.

Note: For more information on HIV, visit our HIV and AIDS hub. You can also see our list of HIV and AIDS articles.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.