Ribavirin is used in combination with other medications such as interferons for treatment of long term Hepatitis C viral infection that damages the liver.
How it works
Ribavirin is an antiviral that belongs to a class of medications called nucleoside analogues. It inhibits an enzyme RNA polymerase which is essential for viral replication and thus decreases the amount of Hepatitis C virus in the body thereby resulting in less liver damage and improved liver function.
Common side effects
back pain, neck pain, viral infection resulting in painful blisters, dizziness, weight decreased, low blood pressure, changes in the sense of taste, sensation of room spinning, chills, loss of appetite, overactive and underactive thyroid gland, indigestion, diarrhea, decreased sexual desire, Low blood cells, pulsation of the heart beats, dry mouth, fainting, thirst, sleepiness, inability to sleep, difficulty concentrating, nausea, tremor, weakness, numbness, loss of hair, bleeding gums, nose and throat inflammation, inflammation of tongue and mouth, shortness of breath with or without activity, rapid heart rate, sensitivity to sunlight, inability to maintain an erection ., psoriasis, tiredness, and skin reactions, eye pain, eye inflammation and dry eyes, fever, difficulty swallowing, tingling, gas, vomiting, burning sensation, depression, fungal infection of the mouth, muscle cramps, increased sweating, malaise, muscle weakness, decreased muscle strength, chest pain, bone pain, poor memory, swelling in the extremities, nervousness, nose bleeds, lethargy, ringing in ears, ear pain, pain in joints and muscles, flu-like illness, upper respiratory infection, enlarged lymph glands, cough, blurry vision, hot flushes, throat and sinuses, pain and irritability, mouth ulceration, flushing, muscle pain, aggression, shaking, infections of the nose, abdominal pain, night sweats, nightmares, anxiety, headache, bronchitis, migraine, mood /emotion changes, constipation, runny nose, joint inflammation.
This drug should be used only in combination with pegylated alfa interferon.
Take precautions as ribavirin may cause low red cell count (anaemia) that can worsen any heart problems you have and can cause you to have a heart attack that can be life-threatening.
Do not drive or operate machinery as ribavirin may make you drowsy, dizzy, or confused.
Do consult your doctor if you have liver problems other than HCV (e.g. cirrhosis or have had a liver transplant), HIV infection, kidney problems or depression.
Take necessary precautions as ribavirin does not prevent the spread of infection to other people through sexual contact, sharing needles, or contact with blood.
Drink extra fluids to stay hydrated during treatment with ribavirin.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Is ribavirin safe in pregnancy?
Ribavirin should not be used in pregnancy or by those who plan to become pregnant as it is highly unsafe for the growing baby.
Q. Is it safe to take ribavirin during breastfeeding?
Ribavirin is not safe for the baby and should not be used by women who are breastfeeding.
Q. How does ribavirin work?
Ribavirin belongs to a class of antiviral medications called nucleoside analogues. It decreases the amount of Hepatitis C virus in the body by blocking its growth, resulting in less liver damage and improved liver function.
Q. What are the severe side effects of ribavirin?
Ribavirin may cause anemia that can worsen any heart problems and can cause a heart attack that can be life-threatening. Call your doctor immediately in case you experience excessive tiredness, pale skin, headache, dizziness, confusion, fast heartbeat, weakness, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
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