An Overview of Ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere)
February 23, 2015
Other Name(s): Copegus, RBV, Rebetol, Ribasphere
Drug Class: Opportunistic Infections and Coinfections
What Is Ribavirin?
Ribavirin is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Ribavirin is always used in combination with either interferon alfa-2b or peginterferon alfa-2a. HCV infection is an HIV-related opportunistic infection. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems -- such as those infected with HIV -- than in people with healthy immune systems.
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related use of ribavirin to treat chronic HCV infection.
In addition to recommendations for the medicine's use in treating chronic HCV infection, the guidelines include recommendations on the "off-label" use of ribavirin to treat acute HCV infection in HIV-infected individuals. "Off-label" use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used "off-label."
The above may not include all of the HIV-related uses of ribavirin recommended in the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents. Some recommended uses, such as uses in certain rare circumstances, may have been omitted.
What Should I Tell My Health Care Provider Before Taking Ribavirin?
Before taking ribavirin, tell your health care provider:
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from ribavirin. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
How Should I Take Ribavirin?
Take ribavirin according to your health care provider's instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much ribavirin to take and when to take it. Before you start ribavirin and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How Should Ribavirin Be Stored?
Where Can I Find More Information About Ribavirin?
More information about ribavirin is available:
This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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