Rebetol (Ribavirin) belongs to a class of drugs called nucleoside analogues. It is an antiviral medicine that is prescribed for use alongside other medicines (such as peginterferon alfa-2a or peginferon alpha-2b) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. This drug can help to lower the amount of the hepatitis C virus present in the body, which may help with recovery of the liver. However, it is very important to note that this medicine will not cure the virus.
Dosage and AdministrationAll patients must consult their physician prior to commencing treatment with Rebetol (Ribavirine). This medicine is not effective if used on its own, and must be used in combination with an interferon alfa product in order for it to be effective. Your physician will tell you which medications you need to take (in addition to this one). Clear and concise dosage instructions will be given to you prior to commencing treatment. This medicine comes in the form of capsules, and adult patients are sometimes instructed (by their physician) to take it alongside food, twice per day (once in the morning and again in the evening), for a period of 24 to 48 weeks (or possible longer).
Side effectsTreatment with Rebetol (Ribavirine) may result in side effects, some of which are listed here:
- Hair loss
- A decrease in weight
- Changes in taste sensation
- Dryness, itching or irritation of the skin
Discuss any side effects that bother you with your physician. Bloody diarrhea, fever, discolored urine, hallucinations and changes in vision are examples of serious side effects that will require immediate medical care. In addition to the serious reactions listed here, other severe reactions may also occur, and if this happens, you will need to seek medical treatment straight away.
PrecautionsThis drug may cause a dry mouth, which could potentially lead to dental problems. You are advised to regularly brush your teeth, and to visit a dentist during the course of treatment.
Patients with liver failure, autoimmune hepatitis or diseases affecting the kidneys may be informed by their physician that this drug is not suitable for them.