Health Guide

Ribavirin (By mouth)

Ribavirin (rye-ba-VYE-rin)

Treats hepatitis C.

Brand Name(s):

Copegus, Moderiba, Moderiba 1000 Dose Pack, Moderiba 1200 Dose Pack, Moderiba 600 Dose Pack, Moderiba 800 Dose Pack, Rebetol, RibaTab, Ribasphere, Ribasphere RibaPak

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to ribavirin, if you or your partner is pregnant, or you have autoimmune hepatitis or a blood disorder, such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia major.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Liquid, Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • Use all of the medicines your doctor has prescribed as part of your combination treatment to treat hepatitis C infection. Ribavirin by itself will not treat hepatitis C.
  • Take this medicine with food.
  • Capsule: Swallow whole. Do not crush, break, or open it.
  • Oral liquid: Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose. If you miss taking your medicine for more than 24 hours, call your doctor.
  • Store the capsules and tablets at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Store the oral liquid in the refrigerator or at room temperature, away from heat and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine together with didanosine.
  • Some medicines can affect how ribavirin works. Tell your doctor if you are also using abacavir, azathioprine, lamivudine, stavudine, or zidovudine.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • This medicine may cause birth defects if either partner is using it during conception or pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you or your partner becomes pregnant. Female patients and female partners of male patients must use 2 forms of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after treatment ends. Female patients must have regular pregnancy tests during treatment.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease (including hepatitis B), anemia, diabetes, eye or vision problems, heart or blood vessel disease, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, lung or breathing problems, thyroid problems, any infection, or an autoimmune disorder (including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or sarcoidosis). Tell your doctor if you have a history of heart attack, depression, mental health problems, or an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Tell your doctor if you had an organ transplant.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Anemia, which can be severe and worsen heart problems
    • Pancreatitis
    • Lung problems
    • Vision changes
    • Teeth and gum problems
    • Slowed growth in children
    • Depression, unusual moods or behaviors, thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Wash your hands often.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing
  • Dark urine or pale stools, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Depression, unusual moods or behaviors, thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness, pale skin
  • Vision changes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache, trouble sleeping, irritability
  • Hair loss
  • Mild diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting, stomach upset
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Weight loss

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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