Ribavirin is a nucleoside analog antiviral medicine used in
combination with interferon to treat chronic hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes enlargement or
swelling of the liver. Ribavirin (in aerosol form, inhalation solution) is also used to treat severe
lung infections caused by RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).
RSV is the most common cause of
bronchiolitis and pneumonia among infants and children under 1 year of age.
Ribavirin brand names include: Rebetol : Ribavin : Ribazid : Copegus : Virazole.
Current ordering options for Ribavirin are below.
No prescription is needed, but the pharmacies will require a consultation via questionnaire to
enable their staff physician to issue a prescription (this is a free consultation).
Other pharmacies do not require a consultation (no consultation needed)*
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Additional Information About Ribavirin
Because side effects can be serious, patients should be closely monitored by their doctors.
Ribavirin can cause anemia and interferon is associated with both psychosis and suicidal
behavior, though the latter occurs in 1 to 2 percent of patients. Both interferon and ribavirin
present significant potential risks for pregnant women, including possible fetal death or
malformations. Female patients or female partners of
male patients must not become pregnant
while receiving this therapy and for six months after completing therapy.
Ribavirin therapy side effects include:
Hemolytic anemia: Teratogenicity: Cough and dyspnea: Rash and pruritus: Insomnia: Anorexia.
However, Combination interferon/ribavirin therapy has been found to be relatively safe and
consistent with the safety profile of each agent when used alone. Use of interferon/ribavirin
in combination is not believed to result in an increase of adverse effects.
More Information about Hepatitis C Treatments
Doctors also may prescribe Rebetron, a Schering product that combines interferon with the
antiviral drug ribavirin. This combination therapy appears to suppress blood levels of HCV more
effectively than a first or repeat course of interferon alone. The FDA has approved one ribavirin
product and four interferon products to treat HCV. Rebetol, the ribavirin product, is made by
Schering-Plough. The interferon products are: Intron A and PEG-Intron (Schering-Plough),
Roferon-A (Hoffmann-La Roche) and Infergen (Amgen Inc.). Intron A, Roferon-A, and Infergen
are considered "conventional" interferons and are injected three times a week.
PEG-Intron (a longer-acting form of interferon) is injected once a week.
Only Intron A and PEG-Intron are approved for use in combination with ribavirin.