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Common ART medicines for children

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Live with HIV > Chapter 11: ART: Medicines for HIV > Common ART medicines for children


Start a child on antiretroviral therapy (ART) as soon as you know that he has HIV. Since antiretroviral medicines usually are available only through HIV programs and clinics, you will probably not have a choice as to what medicines to use. However, it is still important to understand what medicines your child will be given and any side effects they may have.

ART is most often a combination (or “regimen”) of 3 different ARV medicines, one from each of 3 groups. Because each fights HIV differently, combining them is what makes them effective. The regimen given to your child depends on his weight or age, and what is available in your area. Sometimes the medicines are available separately, and sometimes combined in a single tablet. The doses for the medicines change as the child grows, and sometimes the medicines change too. These are the most common ART medicines for children:


Group 1
Name Comes as Comments
AZT – Zidovudine (Retrovir) Syrup 50 mg in 5 ml For newborns.
Tablet 60 mg
ABC – Abacavir (Ziagen) Tablet 60 mg Can be used with AZT/3TC during TB treatment. Stop if allergic reaction develops. Do not start at same time as starting cotrimoxazole.
Group 2
Name Comes as Comments
3TC – Lamivudine (Epivir) Syrup 50 mg in 5 ml For newborns.
Tablet 150 mg
Groups 1 and 2 combined
Name Comes as Comments
AZT + 3TC (Combivir) Tablet with 60 mg AZT
+ 30 mg 3TC
For children 4 to 25 kilos.
ABC + 3TC (Kivexa, Epzicom) Tablet with 120 mg ABC
+ 60 mg 3TC
For children 4 to 25 kilos. Most side effects go away after two weeks.
Group 3
Name Comes as Comments
EFV – Efavirenz Tablet 200 mg
Capsule 50 mg, 200 mg
Not for babies – only give to children older than 3 years. Give at bedtime. Side effects go away within 2 weeks.
LPV/r – Lopinavir + Ritonavir (Kaletra) Syrup with 80 mg LPV
+ 20 mg /r in 1 ml
For small children who cannot swallow pills.
Keep refrigerated.
Give with food.
Capsule with 40 mg LPV +  10 mg /r For children under 10 kilos. Keep refrigerated. Give with food, high fat foods help it absorb better.
Tablet with 100 mg LPV
+ 25 mg /r
For children over 10 kilos.
DTG – Dolutegravir (Tivicay) Tablet 50 mg For children 4 weeks to 10 years old.
RAL – Raltegravir (Isentress) Powder for mixing 100 mg For newborns.
Tablet 25 mg, 100 mg, 400 mg For children 3 to 25 kilos when other medicines are not available. Do not give to children taking rifampicin for TB.
Groups 1, 2 and 3 combined
Name Comes as Comments
AZT + 3TC + NVP
(Duovir-N, Zidovex-LN)
Tablet with 60 mg AZT
+ 30 mg 3TC + 50 mg NVP
For children under 3 years. Skin rash often occurs in first 6 weeks. Do not increase dose until skin rash goes away. Do not give to children taking rifampicin for TB.
ABC + 3TC + DTG (Triumeq) Tablet with 600 mg ABC
+ 300 mg 3TC + 50 mg DTG



This page was updated:27 Nov 2019