Ribavirin (Systemic)

Pediatric Medication

This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.

Brand Names: US

Copegus [DSC]; Moderiba 1200 Dose Pack [DSC]; Moderiba 800 Dose Pack [DSC]; Moderiba [DSC]; Rebetol; Ribasphere; Ribasphere RibaPak; RibaTab [DSC]

Brand Names: Canada

Ibavyr

Warning

  • Do not give this drug alone to your child to treat hepatitis C infection.
  • A severe blood problem called hemolytic anemia has happened with this drug. This can make heart disease worse and lead to heart attacks, which can be deadly. Tell your doctor if you have ever had heart problems. Get medical help 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 treatment and for 6 months after the last dose.
  • 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.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat hepatitis C infection.
  • This drug may be used along with interferon or peginterferon. If your child is using one of these drugs, read the patient fact sheet that comes with it.

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

  • 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.
  • If your child has any of these health problems: Autoimmune hepatitis, liver problems other than hepatitis C, kidney problems, sickle cell anemia, or thalassemia major.
  • If your child is taking didanosine.
  • 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 treatment or within 6 months after her last dose.

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 his/her 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?

  • Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Your child may need to have an ECG checked while taking this drug. Talk with the doctor.
  • Have your child’s lung function checked as you have been told by the doctor. 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.
  • If your child throws up, have your child rinse the mouth out well.
  • Your child may have more chance of getting infections. Have your child wash hands often. 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.
  • If giving this drug to your child and your child’s weight changes, talk with the doctor. The dose of this drug may need to be changed.
  • 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 her last dose.
  • This drug may affect being able to father a child. Talk with the doctor.

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 to take a pregnancy test each month during treatment and for 6 months after his last dose.
  • 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.

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.

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:

  • 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, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Loss of eyesight.
  • Pale skin.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Not able to focus.
  • Period (menstrual) changes.
  • 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.
  • Drugs like this one have raised the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions in children and young adults. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. All people who take this drug need to be watched 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.
  • Low blood cell counts have happened with this drug. If blood cell counts get very low, this can lead to bleeding problems, infections, or anemia. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat; any unexplained bruising or bleeding; or if your child feels very tired or weak.
  • 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.

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:

  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, upset stomach, throwing up, or feeling less hungry.
  • Hair loss.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Dry skin.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Weight loss.
  • Flu-like signs. These include headache, weakness, fever, shakes, aches, pains, and sweating.

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 all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

All products:

  • Give this drug with food.
  • Have your child drink lots of noncaffeine liquids every day unless told to drink less liquid by your child’s doctor.
  • Keep giving this drug to your child as you have been told by your child’s doctor or other health care provider, even if your child feels well.
  • It is important that your child does not miss or skip a dose of this drug during treatment.
  • Do not have your child use longer than you have been told by your child’s doctor.

Tablets:

  • If your child has trouble swallowing, talk with the doctor.

Capsules:

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

Oral solution:

  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure this drug.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?

  • 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.
  • If you are not sure what to do if you miss giving your child a dose, call the doctor.

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.
  • Keep lid tightly closed.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

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.
  • This drug comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time this drug is refilled. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with the 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

2019-06-24

Copyright

© 2019 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.

Last Updated