Ribavirin is used in combination with other antiviral medications (such as interferon, sofosbuvir) to treat chronic (long-lasting) hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver. Chronic hepatitis C infection can cause serious liver problems such as scarring (cirrhosis), or liver cancer. Ribavirin works by reducing the amount of hepatitis C virus in your body, which may help your liver recover.It is not known if this treatment can prevent you from passing the virus to others. Do not share needles, and practice "safer sex" (including the use of latex condoms) to lower the risk of passing the virus to others.
How to use ribavirin oral
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking ribavirin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Also read the drug information for your other antiviral medication(s).
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily with food. Swallow this medication whole. Do not crush, break or chew the capsules.
The dosage and length of treatment is based on your age, weight, medical condition, and response to treatment.
This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Continue to take ribavirin and your other antiviral medication(s) for the full length of time prescribed, even if your symptoms disappear after a short time. Stopping any of the drugs too early may result in a return of the infection.
Drink plenty of water while being treated with this medication. Doing so will decrease the risk of serious side effects.
Nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, trouble sleeping, cough, low appetite, weight loss or gain, dry skin, or changes in taste/hearing may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: unusual tiredness/weakness, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, muscle/joint pain, vision changes, easy bruising/bleeding, dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Ribavirin may cause birth defects and/or death in unborn babies that are exposed to it during pregnancy. If you or your sexual partner are or may be pregnant, do not take ribavirin, and contact your doctor right away. Women using this medication must avoid pregnancy by using reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 9 months after this medication is stopped. Men using this medication must avoid causing pregnancy by using reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after this medication is stopped. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Patients with certain types of heart disease should not use ribavirin because it can lower your red blood cell level (anemia). This may worsen your condition and can lead to a possibly fatal heart attack. Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have had any heart problems or chest pain.
Ribavirin should never be used alone to treat hepatitis C infections.
Before taking ribavirin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood disorders (such as sickle cell anemia, low hemoglobin, thalassemia), kidney disease, other liver problems (such as autoimmune hepatitis), heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing problems, pancreas problems (such as pancreatitis), diabetes.
This drug may make you dizzy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Older adults may be at greater risk for anemia while using this drug.
Ribavirin must not be used during pregnancy. It is recommended that female patients or female partners of male patients take a pregnancy test before this medication is started. Pregnancy tests should continue to be done while using this medication and for some time after this medication is stopped (for 9 months for female patients and for 6 months for female partners of male patients). If you or your partner become pregnant, or if you think you or your partner may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away. See also Warning section.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: antacids, didanosine, zidovudine.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as pregnancy, blood counts/hemoglobin, liver/thyroid/heart function, EKG, eye exams) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another infection unless your doctor tells you to.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.