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RISK OF SERIOUS DISORDERS AND RIBAVIRIN-ASSOCIATED EFFECTS
- REBETOL monotherapy is not effective for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection and should not be used alone for this indication [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- The primary toxicity of ribavirin is hemolytic anemia. The anemia associated with REBETOL therapy may result in worsening of cardiac disease that has led to fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarctions. Patients with a history of significant or unstable cardiac disease should not be treated with REBETOL [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
- Significant teratogenic and 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 so it may persist in nonplasma compartments for as long as 6 months. Therefore, REBETOL therapy 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 treatment in both female patients and in female partners of male patients who are taking REBETOL 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, Use in Specific Populations, Nonclinical Toxicology, and PATIENT INFORMATION].
REBETOL (ribavirin), is a synthetic nucleoside analogue (purine analogue). The chemical name of ribavirin is 1-β-D-ribofuranosyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide and has the following structural formula (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Structural Formula
Ribavirin is a white, crystalline powder. It is freely soluble in water and slightly soluble in anhydrous alcohol. The empirical formula is C8H12N4O5 and the molecular weight is 244.21.
REBETOL capsules consist of a white powder in a white, opaque, gelatin capsule. Each capsule contains 200 mg ribavirin and the inactive ingredients microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, croscarmellose sodium, and magnesium stearate. The capsule shell consists of gelatin, sodium lauryl sulfate, silicon dioxide, and titanium dioxide. The capsule is printed with edible blue pharmaceutical ink which is made of shellac, anhydrous ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, n-butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, ammonium hydroxide, and FD&C Blue #2 aluminum lake.
REBETOL oral solution is a clear, colorless to pale or light yellow bubble gum-flavored liquid. Each milliliter of the solution contains 40 mg of ribavirin and the inactive ingredients sucrose, glycerin, sorbitol, propylene glycol, sodium citrate, citric acid, sodium benzoate, natural and artificial flavor for bubble gum #15864, and water.
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 (Rebetol)?
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: 6/3/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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