Log in »

Ribavirin (rye ba VYE rin)

Pediatric Medication

Brand Names: U.S.

Copegus; Moderiba; Rebetol; Ribasphere; Ribasphere RibaPak; Virazole

Brand Names: Canada

Virazole

Warning

All oral products:

  • Do not give this drug alone to your child to treat hepatitis C infection.
  • A very bad blood problem called hemolytic anemia can happen with this drug. This can make heart disease worse and lead to very bad and sometimes deadly heart attacks. Tell your doctor if you have ever had heart problems. Do not take this drug if you have ever had very bad heart disease or heart problems that are not being treated. Call your doctor right away if you have chest pain while taking this drug.

If your child is pregnant:

  • Do not give this drug to your child if she is pregnant. Use during pregnancy may cause birth defects or loss of the unborn baby. If your child gets pregnant or plans on getting pregnant while taking this drug, call the doctor right away.

If your child is or may be sexually active:

  • Special care is needed to be sure your child or your child’s sex partner does not get pregnant. Two forms of birth control are needed during care and for 6 months after care ends. Talk with the doctor.
  • Do not give this drug to your child if his sex partner is pregnant. Talk with the doctor.
  • If your child or your child’s sex partner gets pregnant while taking this drug or within 6 months after stopping this drug, call the doctor right away.

Liquid for breathing in:

  • Lung function that gets worse all of a sudden can happen with this drug. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug has caused testicle tumors in animals.
  • This drug is not approved for use in adults.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat hepatitis C infection.
  • This drug must be used with interferon alfa to treat hepatitis C.
  • It is used to treat lung (respiratory) syncytial virus.

What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?

All products:

  • If your child has an allergy to this drug or any part of this drug.
  • If your child is allergic to any drugs like this one or any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.

All oral products:

  • If your child has any of these health problems: Autoimmune hepatitis, worsening liver function, sickle cell anemia, or thalassemia major.
  • If your child is of childbearing age but is not using 2 kinds of birth control or if your child is planning to get pregnant during care or within 6 months after care has ended.
  • If your child is taking didanosine.
  • If your child has kidney problems or is on dialysis. Some brands of this drug are not to be used in people who have kidney problems.

Liquid for breathing in:

  • If your child is pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not give this drug to your child if she is pregnant.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of their drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?

All products:

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that your child is using this drug.

If your child is breast-feeding a baby:

  • Tell the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby. You will need to talk about any risks to the baby.

All oral products:

  • Have your child avoid tasks or actions that call for alertness or clear eyesight until you see how this drug affects your child. These are things like riding a bike, playing sports, or using items such as scissors, lawnmowers, electric scooters, toy cars, or motorized vehicles.
  • Have your child’s blood work checked often. Talk with your child’s doctor.
  • Your child will need an ECG before starting this drug.
  • Get your child an eye exam as you have been told by the doctor.
  • If your child has high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with the doctor. This drug can raise blood sugar.
  • If your child has had an organ transplant, talk with the doctor.
  • This drug does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood. Be sure needles and other things like toothbrushes or razors are not shared. Talk with the doctor.
  • Watch for gout attacks.
  • Alcohol may interact with this drug. Be sure your child does not drink alcohol.
  • Take care of your child’s teeth. See a dentist often.
  • Your child may have more chance of getting infections. Avoid crowds and people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • This drug may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with the doctor.
  • Different brands of this drug may have different doses for children. Talk with the doctor before giving this drug to a child.
  • If your child is a female of childbearing age, she must take a pregnancy test each month while taking this drug and for 6 months after care ends.

If your child is or may be sexually active:

  • This drug does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through having sex. Be sure your child does not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Talk with the doctor.
  • If your child is a male and has a female sex partner who may get pregnant, she will need a pregnancy test each month during care and for 6 months after your child stops this drug.
  • If your child has sex without using 2 kinds of birth control, if you think your child may be pregnant, or if your child misses her period, call the doctor right away.

What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

All products:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • A fast heartbeat.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly lung problems have happened with this drug. Call the doctor right away if your child has lung or breathing problems like trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a cough that is new or worse.

All oral products:

  • Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
  • A big weight loss.
  • Sudden change or loss of eyesight.
  • Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
  • Very bad muscle pain or weakness.
  • Children and teens who take this drug may be at a greater risk of having thoughts or actions of suicide. Adults may also be at risk. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. Watch people who take this drug closely. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.
  • A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if your child has signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in the mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with this drug. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • This drug may lower the ability of the bone marrow to make blood cells that the body needs. This can lead to very bad and sometimes deadly bleeding problems or infections. Tell the doctor right away if your child has signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat; any bruising or bleeding; or if your child feels very tired or weak.

Liquid for breathing in:

  • Slow heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:

All oral products:

  • Headache.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Not hungry.
  • Hair loss.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Dry skin.
  • Dry mouth.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best given?

Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read and follow the dosing on the label closely.

All oral products:

  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss giving your child doses.
  • Give this drug with food.
  • Give this drug at the same time of day.
  • Have your child drink lots of noncaffeine liquids every day unless told to drink less liquid by your child’s doctor.

Capsule:

  • Have your child swallow whole. Do not let your child chew, break, or crush.

Oral solution:

  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, get an oral syringe, a dropper, a spoon, or a cup (only for older children) from your pharmacist.

Liquid for breathing in:

  • Your child will breathe in this drug from his/her mouth.
  • This drug will be given to your child by a doctor.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?

All oral products:

  • Give a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

Liquid for breathing in:

  • Call your child’s doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

Tablets and capsules:

  • Store at room temperature.

Oral solution:

  • Store liquid (solution) at room temperature or in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.

All oral products:

  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.

Liquid for breathing in:

  • This drug will be given to you in a hospital or doctor’s office. You will not store it at home.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Keep a list of all your child’s drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your child’s doctor.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor before giving your child any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date

2014-07-18

Copyright

Copyright © 2014 Clinical Drug Information, LLC and Lexi-Comp, Inc.