Table of Contents > Drug > Ribavirin Print

Ribavirin

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Notes
Related terms
Uses
Dosing
Safety
Author information

Notes

    Related terms
    • Brand Names: U.S.: Copegus®;Rebetol®;Ribasphere®;Ribasphere® RibaPak®;Virazole®
    • Brand Names: Canada: Virazole®
    • Mexican Brand Names: Copegus;Desiken;Probirina;Trivorin;Vilona;Virazide
    • Pharmacologic Category: Antiviral Agent

    Uses
    • It is used to treat hepatitis C infection.
    • It is used to treat lung (respiratory) syncytial virus.
    • Ribavirin works to harm the virus and fight the infection.

    Dosing

    How to take

    • All products:
    • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
    • This drug must be used with interferon alfa to treat hepatitis C.
    • If you are a woman of childbearing age, take 2 pregnancy tests before starting this drug and monthly while using this drug.
    • Oral:
    • Take capsule or solution with or without food. Always take with food or always take on an empty stomach.
    • When capsules are used with peginterferon alfa-2b, take with food.
    • Swallow capsule whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
    • Take tablet with food.
    • There is a liquid (solution) if you cannot swallow pills.
    • Those who have feeding tubes may also use the liquid. Flush the feeding tube before and after this drug is given.
    • Liquid for breathing in:
    • You will breathe in this drug from your mouth.

    Missed Dose

    • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
    • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
    • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
    • Do not change the dose or stop this drug. Talk with the doctor.

    Storage

    • Store capsules and solution in a refrigerator or at room temperature.
    • Protect capsules from water. Do not store in a bathroom or kitchen.
    • Store powder and tablets at room temperature.

    Safety



    Warnings

    • Do not take if you are pregnant. Use 2 helpful kinds of birth control during care and for 6 months after care ends.
    • This drug may cause a risky drop in your red blood cell count. Tell your doctor if you have heart or lung problems or if you are using a ventilator.
    • Do not take this drug alone to treat hepatitis C infection.
    • Unsafe side effects may happen. This drug cannot be taken while you are taking some other drugs. Check all the drugs you are taking with your doctor.
    • Please read the medication guide.

    Avoid

    • If you have an allergy to ribavirin or any other part of this drug.
    • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs. Make sure to tell about the allergy and what signs you had. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
    • If you have any of these health problems: Autoimmune hepatitis, poor kidney function, sickle cell anemia, or thalassemia major.
    • If you are of childbearing age, but are not using 2 kinds of birth control or if you are planning to get pregnant during your care or within 6 months after care has ended.
    • If you are a man with a sex partner who is pregnant or plans on getting pregnant at any time while you are being treated or within 6 months after your care has ended.
    • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
    • If you are breast-feeding.

    Precautions

    • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor. This drug may raise blood sugar.
    • If you have heart disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have hepatitis B or HIV disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have liver disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have lung disease, talk with your doctor. You may be more sensitive to this drug.
    • If you have mental illness, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have had an organ transplant, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have thyroid disease, talk with your doctor.
    • Have your blood work checked often. Talk with your doctor.
    • Have an eye exam before starting care and then one every year.
    • Check all drugs you are taking with your doctor. This drug may not mix well with some other drugs.
    • Avoid beer, wine, or mixed drinks. Alcohol may make liver disease worse.
    • Use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust while using this drug and for 6 months after stopping this drug.
    • If you are a man and have sex, protect your partner from pregnancy during care and for 6 months after care ends. Use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust.

    Side Effects

    • Feeling lightheaded, sleepy, having blurred eyesight, or a change in thinking clearly. Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert or have clear eyesight until you see how this drug affects you.
    • Headache.
    • Anemia.
    • Belly pain.
    • Loose stools.
    • Fever.
    • Not able to sleep.
    • Anemia, low white blood cell count, and low platelet count.
    • Upset stomach or throwing up. Many small meals, good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.
    • Dry mouth. Good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help. See a dentist often.
    • Chance of getting an infection. Avoid people with infections, colds, or flu.
    • Not hungry.
    • Cough.
    • Skin irritation.

    Contact a healthcare provider

    • If you think there was an overdose, call your local poison control center or ER right away.
    • Signs of a very bad reaction to the drug. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
    • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
    • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Very bad belly pain.
    • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
    • A big weight gain or loss.
    • Feeling very tired or weak.
    • Not able to eat.
    • Very bad skin irritation.
    • Sudden change in eyesight.
    • For women, if you get pregnant while taking this drug or within 6 months after care ends.
    • For men, if your woman partner gets pregnant while you are being treated or within 6 months after care ends.
    • Any rash.
    • Health problem is not better or you are feeling worse.

    General Statements

    • If you have a very bad allergy, wear an allergy ID at all times.
    • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
    • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
    • Most drugs may be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.
    • In Canada, take any unused drugs to the pharmacy. Also, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/disposal-defaire-eng.php#th to learn about the right way to get rid of unused drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Call your doctor for help with any side effects. If in the U.S., you may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or if in Canada, you may also call Health Canada's Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.
    • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including OTC, natural products, or vitamins.

    Author information
    • Copyright © 1978-2010 Lexi-Comp Inc. All rights reserved.

    Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


    The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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