Ribavirin is an antiviral drug used to treat hepatitis C. The use of ribavirin will be combined with other antiviral drugs, such as interferon or sofosbuvir. This drug works by reducing the amount and stopping the spread of the hepatitis C virus in the body.

Although it can reduce the amount of hepatitis C virus, until now ribavirin has not been able to prevent liver damage, cure hepatitis C, or prevent transmission of hepatitis C. To prevent transmission of hepatitis C, patients are still advised to use condoms when having sex and not share needles same with other people.

Besides being used to treat hepatitis C, ribavirin is also sometimes used to treat dengue fever and severe acute respiratory syndrome  ( SARS ).

Ribavirin trademarks: Copegus and Rebetol 

What is Ribavirin?

class Anti virus 
Category Prescription drug 
Benefit Treat hepatitis C 
Used by Adults and children 
Parnaparin for pregnant and lactating women Category X : Studies in animals and humans have demonstrated an abnormality in the fetus or a risk to the fetus.

Drugs in this category are contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant. It is not known whether ribavirin is absorbed into breast milk or not.

If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first. 

Drug form Tablets and capsules 

Warnings Before Using Ribavirin:

  • Do not take ribavirin if you have a history of allergies to this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you have ever had kidney disease, liver disease, hypertension, digestive tract disorders, pancreatitis , diabetes, HIV/AIDS , thyroid disorders, sarcoidosis, or blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia , anemia, thalassemia , and hemoglobinopathies.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you have a history of alcohol addiction  or frequently use certain drugs without a prescription.
  • Do not drive a motorized vehicle, operate heavy machinery, or perform activities that require alertness while using ribavirin. This drug may cause dizziness, extreme tiredness, or blurred vision.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines and supplements.
  • Immediately see a doctor if an allergic reaction or overdose occurs after taking ribavirin.

Dosage and Rules for Using Ribavirin

Ribavirin should be used with another antiviral drug, such as interferon alfa-2a , peginteron alfa-2a, or sofosbuvir . The dose of ribavirin given is determined based on the patient's age and weight (BB) and the conditions being treated. Here is the distribution of the dose:

Condition:  Chronic hepatitis C 

Dosage: 400 mg 2 times a day every morning and evening for 24 weeks.

Condition:  Hepatitis C accompanied by HIV

Dosage: 800 mg daily for 48 weeks.

Apart from being based on condition, the dose can also be given based on the patient's age and weight, as well as the ribavirin trademark. The division is as follows:


  • Rebetol
    Weight < 65 kg: 400 mg twice daily morning and evening
    Weight 65–80 kg: 400 mg in the morning and 600 mg in the evening
    Weight 81–105 kg: 600 mg twice daily morning and evening evening
    Weight > 105 kg: 600 mg in the morning and 800 mg in the afternoon
  • Copegus
    Weight < 75 kg: 400 mg in the morning and 600 mg in the evening
    Body weight ≥75 kg: 600 mg 2 times a day in the morning and evening


  • Rebetol
    Body weight <47 kg: 15 mg/kg/day in 2 divided doses
    Body weight 47–49 kg: 200 mg in the morning and 400 mg in the evening
    Body weight 50–65 kg: 400 mg twice daily every morning and afternoon

How to Take Ribavirin Properly

Follow the doctor 's recommendations  in taking ribavirin and always read the instructions for using the drug before taking it. Do not change the dosage or duration of use of the drug without consulting your doctor first.

For ribavirin tablets, take the drug with food. Meanwhile, ribavirin capsules can be consumed with or without food, provided that the drug must always be consumed in the same way.

Use the ribavirin given until it runs out even though the symptoms have subsided. Do not stop using the drug suddenly because it can cause a recurrence of infection.

Drink plenty of water while using ribavirin to reduce the risk of side effects. To obtain maximum results, use ribavirin regularly and regularly. It is recommended to take ribavirin at the same time each day to prevent forgetting.

If you forget to take ribavirin, do it right away if your next scheduled break is not too close. If it's close, ignore it and don't double the dose.

Store ribavirin in a closed place at room temperature and away from heat and humidity. Keep out of reach of children.

Interactions of Ribavirin with Other Drugs and Substances

Ribavirin can cause a number of interactions when used with other drugs. Interaction effects that can occur include:

  • Enhanced immunosuppressant effect when used with azathioprine
  • Increased risk of poisoning the inside of the cell (mitochondria) and lactic acidosis  in HIV patients taking nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor  (NRTI) drugs, such as stavudine
  • Increased risk of anemia when used with zidovudine
  • Decreased effectiveness of ribavirin when used with antacid products  containing magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), and simethicone

Side Effects and Dangers of Ribavirin

The following are the most common side effects after using ribavirin:

  • Nauseous
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Headache
  • Dizzy
  • Blurred vision
  • Hard to sleep
  • Dry skin
  • Cough
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Changes in the sense of taste or hearing

Check with your doctor if these side effects don't go away for a long time or get worse. Although rare, a number of other, more serious side effects may occur, such as:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Easy bruising
  • Dark urine or bloody bowel movements
  • Yellow eyes and skin ( jaundice )
  • Heart beat
  • Chest pain, stomach pain, or low back pain, which is heaviness

Immediately check with your doctor if you experience side effects as mentioned above. Examination also needs to be done immediately if an allergic reaction occurs, which includes an itchy rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the eyelids and lips.

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