Ribavirin is a medicine used to treat viral infections. It is used together with other medicines to treat long-term hepatitis C infection.
Take Ribavirin exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
This medicine is available as a tablet, capsule and oral solution.
If you have are taking the tablet, take it with food.
If you are taking the capsule, you may take it either always with food or always without food. Do not open, crush, chew, or break the capsule.
If you are taking the oral solution, take it with food. The oral solution is only given to children and to those who cannot swallow capsules.
Always take Ribavirin with plenty of water. Try to take it at the same time each day.
This medicine must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course. If you don't, the infection will not clear completely.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have heart disease and blood disorders as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Alert your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction (breathlessness, rashes, swollen eyes) to similar antiviral medications.
Do not take this medicine if you are breastfeeding, pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with Ribavirin, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods while taking Ribavirin.
You must avoid pregnancy while being treated with Ribavirin and for at least 6 months after you complete treatment. Both men and women being treated with Ribavirin must use at least 2 reliable types of birth control during treatment AND for at least 7 months after treatment ends.
Do not take this medicine with didanosine (medicine for HIV/AIDS).
Inform your doctor if you have:
- kidney disease
- heart disease
- liver disease
For as long as you are being treated with Ribavirin, you will need to have regular blood tests to monitor your body's response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need these tests to be done.
By itself, this medicine cannot treat hepatitis C. Make sure that you take the other medicine(s) given to you by your doctor.
Ribavirin does not prevent you from passing hepatitis C to other people. Follow your doctor's advice about how to prevent spreading the disease to others.
Ribavirin may cause dizziness or blurred vision If affected , do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
This medicine may cause mental disorders. Notify your doctor if you develop mood swings, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, unusual irritability, uncontrollable episodes of crying/laughing, and impaired concentration.
Other side effects include any of the following: stomach discomfort, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, stomach wind, tiredness, headache, fever, difficulty sleeping, hair loss, nausea, loss of appetite, dry mouth, weight loss, dry skin, rashes, itch and cough.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- severe stomach pain or lower back pain
- bruising or unusual bleeding (such as large bruises that appear without trauma or bleeding that is excessive or takes a long time to stop)
- mood swings, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, unusual irritability , uncontrollable episodes of crying/laughing, and impaired concentration
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Ribavirin witn didanosine (medicine for HIV/AIDS).
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for AIDS (HIV) e.g. zidovudine, stavudine
- medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. azathioprine
- alfa interferons (medicines for cancer and viral infection)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Ribavirin.
This medicine should not be taken with antacids as antacids could reduce the effectiveness of this medicine. If you must take antacid, there should be at least 2 hours interval between the antacid and Ribavirin.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol. Consuming large amount of alcohol is damaging to your liver.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.