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RISK OF SERIOUS DISORDERS AND RIBAVIRIN-ASSOCIATED EFFECTS
COPEGUS (ribavirin) monotherapy is not effective for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection and should not be used alone for this indication.
The primary clinical toxicity of ribavirin is hemolytic anemia. The anemia associated with ribavirin therapy may result in worsening of cardiac disease and lead to fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarctions. Patients with a history of significant or unstable cardiac disease should not be treated with COPEGUS [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS, and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Significant teratogenic and/or embryocidal effects have been demonstrated in all animal species exposed to ribavirin. In addition, ribavirin has a multiple dose half-life of 12 days, and it may persist in non-plasma compartments for as long as 6 months. Therefore, ribavirin, including COPEGUS, is contraindicated in women who are pregnant and in the male partners of women who are pregnant. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy during therapy and for 6 months after completion of therapy in both female patients and in female partners of male patients who are taking ribavirin therapy. At least two reliable forms of effective contraception must be utilized during treatment and during the 6-month post treatment follow-up period [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and Use in Specific Populations].
COPEGUS, ribavirin, is a nucleoside analogue with antiviral activity. The chemical name of ribavirin is 1-β-Dribofuranosyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide and has the following structural formula:
The empirical formula of ribavirin is C8H12N4O5 and the molecular weight is 244.2. Ribavirin is a white to off-white powder. It is freely soluble in water and slightly soluble in anhydrous alcohol.
COPEGUS (ribavirin) is available as a light pink to pink colored, flat, oval-shaped, film-coated tablet for oral administration. Each tablet contains 200 mg of ribavirin and the following inactive ingredients: pregelatinized starch, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, cornstarch, and magnesium stearate. The coating of the tablet contains Chromatone-P® or Opadry® Pink (made by using hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose, talc, titanium dioxide, synthetic yellow iron oxide, and synthetic red iron oxide), ethyl cellulose (ECD-30), and triacetin.
What are the possible side effects of ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, RibaPak, Ribasphere, RibaTab)?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using ribavirin and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- problems with your vision;
- fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
- severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
- stabbing chest pain, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
- severe depression,...
What are the precautions when taking ribavirin (Copegus)?
Before taking ribavirin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: other types of hepatitis (e.g., autoimmune hepatitis), blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell anemia, low hemoglobin, thalassemia), kidney disease.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: other liver problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing problems, pancreas problems (e.g., pancreatitis),...
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/4/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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