What is this medicine?
RIBAVIRIN (rye ba VYE rin) is an antiviral medicine. It is used with interferon alfa to treat hepatitis C. It will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Use a specially marked spoon or container to measure each dose. Ask your pharmacist if you do not have one. Household spoons are not accurate. You can take this medicine with or without food, but you should take it the same way every day. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Take all of your medicine as directed even if you think you are better. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine early.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 3 years of age for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
back or stomach pain
black or bloody diarrhea
changes in vision
depressed mood, thoughts of suicide
fever or chills, sore throat
general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms
loss of appetite, nausea
missed menstrual period
right upper belly pain
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusually weak or tired
yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
What may interact with this medicine?
Do not take this medicine with the following medication:
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose and remember the same day, take it as soon as you remember. If the whole day has passed, ask your healthcare provider what to do. Do not take double or extra doses.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store in the refrigerator at 2 to 8 degrees C (36 to 46 degrees F). Or, store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
blood disease like sickle-cell or thalassemia
drug abuse or addiction
history of depression, anxiety
immune system problems
low blood counts, like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts
lung or breathing disease, like asthma
man with a partner who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant
other liver disease
an unusual or allergic reaction to ribavirin, interferons, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
See your doctor or health care professional for a follow-up visit as directed. You may need to have tests done to check your progress. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
This medicine may cause birth defects or death to an unborn child. Women taking this medicine must avoid pregnancy while taking this medicine and for 6 months after stopping this medicine. Men who are taking this medicine must avoid getting a woman pregnant while taking this medicine and for 6 months after stopping this medicine. Use 2 forms of birth control. Women who can still have children must have a negative pregnancy test before starting treatment. Take monthly pregnancy tests while you are taking this medicine and for 6 months after this medicine is stopped. Talk to your doctor if you think that you or your partner are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant.
Do not drink alcohol, including beer, wine, and liquor. This may make your liver disease worse.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water may help. Contact your doctor if the problem does not go away or is severe. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice daily and have regular dental examinations. Also, if you vomit, rinse out your mouth.