ribavirin tablet - oral, Copegus, Ribapak (cont.)
USES: This medication is an antiviral used in combination with interferon to treat ongoing hepatitis C. Long-term hepatitis C infection causes liver swelling that can lead to serious liver conditions such as scarring, cancer, and organ failure. Ribavirin works by reducing the amount of hepatitis C virus in your body, which may help your liver recover. However, this drug is not a cure for hepatitis C infection, and it does not prevent the spread of Hepatitis C to others through sexual contact or blood contamination (e.g., sharing used needles).OTHER This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.This drug may also be used to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using ribavirin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.Take this medication by mouth, usually twice daily with food for 24 to 48 weeks or as directed by your doctor. Swallow this medication whole. Do not crush, break or chew the tablet.The dosage and length of treatment is based on your age, weight, medical condition, and response to therapy.If this medication comes in a dosing package, carefully follow the directions on the dosing package unless your doctor directs you otherwise.Antiviral medications work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.Drink plenty of water while being treated with this medication. Doing so will decrease the risk of serious side effects.
SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, trouble sleeping, flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches), cough, hair loss, low appetite, weight loss or gain, dry skin, and changes in taste/hearing may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she 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.Tooth and gum problems may sometimes occur during ribavirin/interferon treatment. Dry mouth can worsen this side effect. Prevent dry mouth by drinking plenty of water or by using a saliva substitute. Brush your teeth well at least twice daily and see your dentist regularly. If you experience vomiting during treatment, rinse out your mouth afterwards to reduce tooth and gum problems.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: unusual tiredness/weakness, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, mental/mood changes (e.g., severe depression, suicidal thoughts), muscle/joint pain, easy bruising/bleeding, dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin.Seek immediate medical attention if any of these unlikely but very serious side effects occurs: chest pain, jaw/left arm pain, stomach/lower back pain, black/bloody stools.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: 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.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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