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  • Generic Name: (ribavirin)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 02/2014
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Rebetol is a medicine used with either Intron A (interferon alfa-2b) or Pegintron (peginterferon alfa-2b) to treat chronic (long-term) hepatitis C infection in people whose liver still works normally. Rebetol is available as capsules and an oral solution.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Rebetol works by lowering the ability of the virus to multiply in your body, thereby helping to stop the virus from spreading.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: Studies show that people treated with Rebetol in combination with Pegintron or Intron A have achieved sustained virologic response, which means that the chronic hepatitis C virus can no longer be found in the blood 6 months after the end of treatment.

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Rebetol exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

      How do I know it is working?

      Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check how well this medication is working.


    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      Do not take Rebetol alone to treat chronic hepatitis C infection. Rebetol must be used with either Intron A or Pegintron to treat hepatitis C infection.

      Rebetol may cause you to develop hemolytic anemia (a blood disorder in which red blood cells are destroyed) that can worsen any existing heart problems and cause a potentially life-threatening heart attack. If you develop chest pain while you take Rebetol, get emergency medical attention right away.

      Rebetol may cause potentially life-threatening birth defects to your unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. Do not take Rebetol if you or your sexual partner is pregnant or plans to become pregnant. You or your sexual partner should not become pregnant while you take Rebetol and for 6 months after treatment is over. You must use two forms of birth control when you take Rebetol and for the 6 months after treatment. Women must have a pregnancy test before starting Rebetol, every month while taking Rebetol, and every month for the 6 months after treatment with Rebetol. If you or your sexual partner becomes pregnant while taking Rebetol or within 6 months after stopping treatment with Rebetol, tell your healthcare provider right away.


      More common side effects may include: tiredness, weakness, headache, chills, fever, nausea, muscle pain, anxiety, irritability.


      More common side effects may include: fever, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting.

      Less common side effects of Rebetol may include:

      Trouble breathing, which may be a sign of potentially life-threatening pneumonia.

      Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), with symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

      A delay in weight gain and height increase in children. Catch-up in growth happens after treatment stops, but some children may not reach the height that they were expected to have before treatment.

      Dental problems, with symptoms such as dry mouth that can be damaging your teeth and gums.

      Rebetol may also cause severe depression or suicidal thoughts or attempts or serious eye problems that may lead to vision loss or blindness.


    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not take Rebetol if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

      Do not take Rebetol if you or your sexual partner is pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or is breastfeeding.

      Do not take Rebetol if you have certain liver problems (including autoimmune hepatitis [a type of hepatitis in which your immune system attacks normal cells in the liver]), kidney problems, or blood disorders (such as thalassemia major or sickle-cell anemia).

      Do not take Rebetol if you are taking a medicine called didanosine (ingredient in Videx).


    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Rebetol. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have breathing or vision problems; certain blood disorders (such as anemia); high blood pressure, heart problems, or have had a heart attack; thyroid, kidney, or liver (such as hepatitis B infection) problems; HIV infection (AIDS); diabetes; mental health problems (such as depression or thoughts of suicide); if you have had an organ transplant, drug addiction or abuse, or treatment for hepatitis C that did not work for you; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults and children ≥3 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you or your child, based on the weight.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Take Rebetol exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not take extra doses or take more often without asking your healthcare provider.

      Take Rebetol with food.

      Swallow Rebetol capsules whole. Do not open, break, or crush the capsules.


    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not become pregnant while you are taking Rebetol.

      Do not drive or operate machinery if you feel tired, dizzy, or confused while you are taking Rebetol.

      Do not drink alcohol (including beer, wine, or liquor). This can worsen your liver disease.


    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Rebetol is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Rebetol with the following: azathioprine or certain anti-HIV medications (such as didanosine, lamivudine, stavudine, or zidovudine).

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      Do not take Rebetol if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

      If you become pregnant while taking Rebetol, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the Ribavirin Pregnancy Registry. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of this medicine during pregnancy.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      If you miss a dose of Rebetol, take it as soon as you remember during the same day. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store Rebetol capsules at room temperature.

      Store Rebetol oral solution at room temperature or in the refrigerator.


    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
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