ribavirin, Rebetol, Copegus, Ribasphere, RibaPak, Moderiba

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is ribavirin, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Ribavirin is an antiviral drug. It is used in combination with interferon for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Although the exact mechanism of its action is unknown, it is thought to interfere with the production and/or action of viral DNA and RNA which are critical to the survival and multiplication of the virus. Ribavirin was approved by the FDA in December 1998.

What brand names are available for ribavirin?

Rebetol, Copegus, Ribasphere, RibaPak, Moderiba

Do I need a prescription for ribavirin?

Yes

What are the side effects of ribavirin?

The most common side effect seen with the combination of ribavirin and interferon is a flu-like syndrome consisting of:

Other possible side effects that may occur during therapy with ribavirin and interferon are:

The most serious side effect seen with ribavirin is anemia. Careful consideration is advised if ribavirin is used in patients with heart or circulation problems since the anemia may aggravate these conditions.

Ribavirin should be avoided among patients who have severe kidney disease and have lost most of their kidneys' function.

Therapy with ribavirin and interferon may aggravate psychiatric conditions or may trigger a psychiatric condition such as depression, psychosis, aggressive behavior, hallucinations, or violent behavior. Patients should be closely monitored for the development of these psychiatric conditions.

Therapy with ribavirin and interferon has caused abnormalities of the thyroid gland. If these abnormalities persist and cannot be controlled by medication, it may be necessary to discontinue therapy.

Quick GuideHepatitis C (Hep C) Symptoms and Treatment

Hepatitis C (Hep C) Symptoms and Treatment
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