Viral Hepatitis and Ribavirin
As an antiviral agent, Ribavirin works to injure the virus and fight the infection.
• To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
• This medicine must be used with interferon alfa for treatment of hepatitis C.
• 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.
• 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.
• Belly pain.
• 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.
• 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.