Generic Name: ribavirin
Drug Class: Nucleoside Analogs
Company: multiple, including AbbVie, Genentech, Kadmon
Approval Status: Approved
Generic Version Available: Yes
When used for HCV treatment, ribavirin was originally approved to be used in conjunction with interferon. Ribavirin is always prescribed with another medication, such as Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir), Olysio (simeprevir), Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), peginterferon or Viekira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir; dasabuvir). It may be used for all genotypes.
- Ribavirin was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by people living with hepatitis C in 1998.
- The cure rates of ribavirin depend on the treatment regimen it is prescribed with, along with genotype, prior treatment and the presence of cirrhosis.
Adult Dose: Ribavirin is an oral medication usually taken twice daily; the total daily dose is usually determined by body weight. Typically, the total dose is 1,000 mg/day for persons less than 165 lbs. (75 kg) and 1,200 mg/day for those 165 lbs. (75 kg.) or greater. For dosages of medications prescribed with ribavirin, follow additional dosing instructions for that drug.
Pediatric Dose: Ribavirin is approved to use in children 5 years and older. The total daily dose is usually determined by body weight.
Dosing Info: Duration of treatment and choice of drugs prescribed with ribavirin are determined by genotype, prior treatment experience and the presence of cirrhosis. For specific treatment recommendations, see Hepatitis C Treatment-Naive Recommendations or Hepatitis C Re-treatment Recommendations.
- Many side effects are associated with ribavirin, ranging from mild to severe in intensity. Two potentially serious adverse effects, hemolytic anemia and birth defects, are listed as black box warnings.
- Common side effects are fatigue, impaired concentration, insomnia, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, mood issues (anxiety, depression, irritability, moodiness), nausea, rash/itching/dry skin, taste perversion (dysgeusia), upset stomach and weakness.
- Side effects may increase depending on which medications are prescribed with ribavirin.
- Before taking this medication, tell your medical provider and pharmacist about all the drugs, supplements and herbs you take, whether prescribed, over-the-counter or illicit.
- Do not take ribavirin if you are taking didanosine or zidovudine. Use cautiously if taking azathioprine.
- Potential interactions are listed at hep-druginteractions.org.
Ribavirin may harm fetuses; it should not be taken by pregnant women or those who are trying to become pregnant. Women of childbearing age and their male sexual partners must use two forms of birth control throughout treatment and for six months after treatment if ribavirin is prescribed.
Taking ribavirin while breast-feeding is not recommended.
Co-Pay Program Info: http://www.hepmag.com/basics/hepatitis-c-basics/paying-hepatitis-c-treatment
Patient Assistance Program Info: http://www.hepmag.com/basics/hepatitis-c-basics/paying-hepatitis-c-treatment
Last Reviewed: March 5, 2019