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Ribavirin

Last updated on 25/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Ribavirin

ALTERNATE NAME: Tribavirin

CHINESE NAME: 利巴韋林, 病毒唑

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Copegus, Robavin

DRUG CLASS: Antivirals

SUB CLASS: VIral RNA Polymerase inhibitor

USED FOR: Hepatitis C, Middle East respiratory syndrome

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS:
– 100mg (capsules)
– 200mg (tablets)

What is Ribavirin for?

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV). It mainly affects the liver, leading to signs and symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, dark urine and jaundice. Ribavirin can mimic nucleotides and inhibits RNA polymerase of viruses, stopping their replication. Therefore, it is used to treat hepatitis C and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

How to use it?

Ribavirin is available in capsules and tablets for oral use. They should be administered with food and the capsules should not be opened, crushed or broken.

Only infected with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 or 4
The regimen should last for 48 weeks.

When using Copegus, use it with Interferon alfa-2a or Peginterferon alfa-2a.

Adult weighed up to 75kg
Copegus: Take 400mg in the morning and 600mg in the evening.

Adult weighed more than or equal to 75kg
Copegus: Take 600mg twice daily.

When using Robavin, use it with Interferon alfa-2b or Peginterferon alfa-2b.

Adult weighed up to 65kg
Robavin: Take 400mg twice daily.

Adult weighed 65-80kg
Robavin: Take 400mg in the morning and 600mg in the evening.

Adult weighed 81-105kg
Robavin: Take 600mg twice daily.

Adult weighed 106kg or above
Robavin: Take 600mg in the morning and 800mg in the evening.

For children, it can only be treated for genotype 1.

Child above 3 years of age and weighed less than 47kg
Robavin: Take 15 mg/kg daily in 2 divided doses.

Child above 3 years of age and weighed 47-49kg
Robavin: Take 200mg in the morning and 400mg in the evening.

Child above 3 years of age and weighed 50-65kg
Robavin: Take 400mg in the morning and the evening.

Only infected with chronic hepatitis C genotype 2 or 3
The regimen should last for 24 weeks.

When using Copegus, use it with Interferon alfa-2a or Peginterferon alfa-2a.

Adult
Copegus: Take 400mg twice daily.

When using Robavin, use it with Interferon alfa-2b or Peginterferon alfa-2b.

Adult weighed up to 65kg
Robavin: Take 400mg twice daily.

Adult weighed 65-80kg
Robavin:
Take 400mg in the morning and 600mg in the evening.

Adult weighed 81-105kg
Robavin: Take 600mg two times a day.

Adult weighed 106kg or above
Robavin: Take 600mg in the morning and 800mg in the evening.

Child above 3 years of age and weighed less than 47kg
Robavin: Take 15 mg/kg daily in 2 divided doses.

Child above 3 years of age and weighed 47-49kg
Robavin: Take 200mg in the morning and 400mg in the evening.

Child above 3 years of age and weighed 50-65kg
Robavin: Take 400mg in the morning and the evening.

Hepatitis C and HIV patients
The regimen should last 48 weeks.

When using Copegus, use it with Interferon alfa-2a or Peginterferon alfa-2a.

Adult
Copegus: Take 800mg daily.

What are the side effects of Ribavirin?

Common side effects of Ribavirin include anemia, diarrhea, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting. Edema, dehydration, diabetes and lupus are unlikely to occur.

Who should not take Ribavirin?

– Patients with severe heart diseases
– Patients with hemoglobinopathies
– Patients with uncontrolled heart disease in the past 6 months
– Pregnant, breastfeeding and childbearing women
– Preconception men
– People who are allergic to Ribavirin or any components of the formulation

Pharmacist Tips:

– People with kidney impairment need dose adjustments
– Men and women are required to take contraceptives for 7 months and 4 months respectively after treatment. Condoms have to be used for male patients if their partners are pregnant.
– Monitor complete blood count, liver function and electrolytes.
– Do not open, crush or break the capsules.

Common dosing schedule:
Ribavirin is taken twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. It should be administered with food, i.e. breakfast and dinner. Notice the two doses may not be the same, so follow the instructions as directed and do not mix up the drugs.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Ribavirin may interact with:
– Azathioprine
– Cladribine
– Didanosine
– Influenza virus vaccine
– Warfarin
– Zidovudine

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Ribavirin in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Ribavirin is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Ribavirin in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.