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REBETOL
RIBAVIRIN - ORAL CAPSULES

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.

RIBAVIRIN - ORAL CAPSULES

(rye-buh-VYE-rin)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Rebetol

WARNING: Ribavirin may cause birth defects and/or fetal death when used during pregnancy. Women of childbearing potential and their male partners must use two forms of reliable birth control (contraception) during treatment with this product and for 6 months after this medication has been stopped to avoid pregnancy. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for additional information.

Uses

Ribavirin is used in combination with interferon to treat chronic hepatitis C infection. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes swelling or enlargement of the liver.

How To Use

Take this medication by mouth usually twice daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor. It is important to take this medication consistently either with food or without food. Taking it inconsistently (sometimes with food, sometimes without food) may decrease the effectiveness and/or increase your risk of side effects. It may be best to take this medicine with food (more medicine might be absorbed into your bloodstream). The dosage and length of treatment is based on your weight, medical condition, and response to therapy. Antiviral medications work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. It is recommended that female patients or female partners of male patients take a pregnancy test before this medication is started. Refer to the pregnancy warning in the Precautions section (below). Drink plenty of water while being treated with this medication; doing so will decrease the risk of serious side effects.

Side Effects

Nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, stomach upset, trouble sleeping, and flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches) may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor. Promptly tell your doctor if any of these side effects occur: hair loss, loss of appetite, weight loss, rash, itching, changes in taste or hearing. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these serious side effects occur: unusual tiredness and weakness (fatigue), dark urine, yellowing eyes, mental/mood changes, trouble breathing. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: chest pain, muscle pain, joint pain, sinus problems (e.g., drainage, pain behind the eyes), rapid breathing, stomach pain. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions

This medication is not recommended for use if you have the following medical conditions: severe heart disease, kidney disease, blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell anemia, low hemoglobin), other types of hepatitis (e.g., autoimmune hepatitis). Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: other liver problems, heart problems, breathing problems, pancreas problems (e.g., pancreatitis), diabetes, any allergies. Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the side effects of the drug. This medication must not be used during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control. It is recommended that men and women use two effective forms of birth control (e.g., latex condoms, birth control medication) while taking this medication since ribavirin may cause fetal harm. These birth control measures should be used during treatment with, and for at least 6 months after using this medication. It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medication you may use, especially: antacids, didanosine, zidovudine. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., pregnancy tests, blood counts, hemoglobin) will be performed to monitor your progress and for side effects.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store at room temperature (77 degrees F or 25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).