Viral Hepatitis
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Viral Hepatitis and Ribavirin

Written by ColleenO, FoundHealth.

Ribavirin is given to treat hepatitis C. It is used in combination with with interferon alfa.

Effect of Ribavirin on Viral Hepatitis

As an antiviral agent, Ribavirin works to injure the virus and fight the infection.

Read more details about Ribavirin.

How to Use Ribavirin

• To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.

• This medicine must be used with interferon alfa for treatment of hepatitis C.

Oral:

• Take capsule or solution with or without food but be consistent. Always take with food or always take on an empty stomach.

• When capsules are used in combination with peginterferon alfa-2b, take with food.

• Swallow capsule whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.

• Take tablet with food.

• A liquid (solution) is available if you cannot swallow pills.

• Those who have feeding tubes can also use the liquid. Flush the feeding tube before and after medicine is given.

Inhalation:

• You will inhale this medicine through your mouth. What do I do if I miss a dose? (does not apply to patients in the hospital)

• Take a missed dose as soon as possible.

• If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule.

• Do not take a double dose or extra doses.

• Do not change dose or stop medicine. Talk with healthcare provider.

What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

• If you have diabetes, talk with healthcare provider. This medicine can increase blood sugar.

• If you have heart disease, talk with healthcare provider.

• If you have hepatitis B or HIV disease, talk with healthcare provider.

• If you have liver disease, talk with healthcare provider.

• If you have lung disease, talk with healthcare provider. You may be more sensitive to this medicine.

• If you have mental illness, talk with healthcare provider.

• If you have had an organ transplant, talk with healthcare provider.

• If you have thyroid disease, talk with healthcare provider.

• Check medicines with healthcare provider. This medicine may not mix well with other medicines.

• Avoid alcohol (includes wine, beer, and liquor). Alcohol can worsen liver disease.

• Use two forms of birth control that you can trust while using this medicine and for 6 months after treatment ends.

• If you are a male and sexually active, protect your partner from pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after treatment ends. Use two forms of birth control that you can trust.

What are some possible side effects of this medicine?

• Feeling lightheaded, sleepy, having blurred vision, or a change in thinking clearly. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities that require you to be alert or have clear vision until you see how this medicine affects you.

• Headache.

• Anemia.

• Belly pain.

• Diarrhea.

• Fever.

• Inability to sleep.

• Anemia, low white blood cell count, and low platelet count.

• Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.

• Dry mouth. Frequent mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.

• Risk of infection. Avoid people with infections, colds, or flu.

• Not hungry.

• Cough.

• Skin irritation.

Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

• If you suspect an overdose, call your local poison control center or emergency department immediately.

• Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.

• Chest pain or pressure or fast heartbeat.

• Severe dizziness or passing out.

• Difficulty breathing.

• Severe belly pain.

• Severe nausea or vomiting.

• Feeling extremely tired or weak.

• Not able to eat.

• Severe skin irritation.

• Sudden change in vision.

• For females, if you become pregnant while taking this medicine or within 6 months after treatment ends.

• For males, if your female partner becomes pregnant while you are being treated or within 6 months after treatment ends.

• Any rash.

• No improvement in condition or feeling worse.

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