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.
PREPARATIONS: Capsule: 200 mg.
STORAGE: Ribavirin should be refrigerated at 2 C to 8 C (36 F to 46 F).
- Ribavirin dosing is individualized based upon a patient's weight and previous use of interferon.
- Dosing also depends on the formulation used and the type of hepatitis C virus infection.
- The recommended dose of ribavirin tablets is 800 to 1200 mg divided every 12 hours for 24 to 48 weeks.
- Ribavirin may be taken with or without food. When taken orally, it should be taken consistently. For example, it should be taken at the same time or times each day and with or without food each time.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Ribavirin used at the same time as other antiviral drugs with similar mechanisms of action may cause a condition in which lactic acid accumulates in the blood (lactic acidosis) which can lead to serious medical problems. Other such antiviral drugs include those used to manage HIV infection, for example, zidovudine (Retrovir), zalcitabine (Hivid) or stavudine (Zerit).
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