Rebetol, or Ribavarin is an antiviral drug which is used to treat chronic Hepatitis C. It must be used in conjunction with an interferon alfa medication like Intron A, Pegasys or Sylatron.
Rebetol has no effect on the body if it is being used on its own in the treatment of Hepatitis C. It must be used alongside an interferon alfa product.
Do not take Rebetol if you have a history of blood hemoglobin disorders like anemia and thalassemia, among others.
Do not take it if you are pregnant or if your sexual partner is pregnant.
Refrain from Rebetol if you are on didanosine. Never take it with Peginterferon Alfa 2A if you have a chronic and severe liver disease or if your hepatitis is autoimmune.
Rebetol has the capability to cause unborn children to be born with birth defects, or to be stillborn. Do not take this medication if you are a pregnant woman.
Do not take Rebetol if you are a man and your sexual partner is pregnant. If you father a child while on Rebetol, you could risk harming the fetus.
If either partner is on Rebetol, make sure that at least 2 types of birth control are used during intimacy, effectively. Continue doing this for at least 6 months after the treatment has ended.
Contact your doctor immediately if your partner gets pregnant while one of you is on Rebetol.
The drug can cause anemia as it reduces the number of red cells in the blood. This condition can be fatal in people with heart disease. Test your blood, vision, liver and thryroid often with your doctor.
While it is unknown whether Rebetol passes into breast milk and harms nursing children, it is a known fact that the drug can stunt growth in kids. Do not breast feed while on, or 6 months after being on Rebetol.
Take Rebetol exactly as has been prescribed by your doctor. Never take more than the recommended dosage, and never take less either.
Remember that it is of no use when taken alone, especially when being used to treat Hep C. Take it regularly with the interferon alfa product you have been given.
Take Rebetol with food. If you are taking the liquid form of the drug, use a pharmacy supplied dose-measuring cup or a spoon. Never use a regular tablespoon to measure.
Use the drug regularly for maximum effectiveness. If you run out, get your prescription refilled so you don’t miss a dose.
To avoid dehydration while taking Rebetol, make sure you drink a lot of fluids. This is important during exercise and in hot climates.
The medication can cause dry mouth, leading to gum diseases. If you vomit during treatment, rinse your mouth out properly.
Missed doses and overdose
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is close to the next dose, skip the one you missed. If you haven’t taken a dose in over a day, call your doctor.
A Rebetol overdose can be fatal. Call the local poison hotline and seek emergency medical help as soon as you can. Overdose symptoms include bleeding, chest pains, heaviness, arm and shoulder pain, nausea, sweating and illness.
Common side effects include:
Weakness and exhaustion
More serious side effects include:
Fever, chills and flu
Severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
Rapid heart rate, chest pains
Depression, hallucinations and suicidal tendencies
Pale, yellowish skin and confusion
Call your doctor immediately if you experience these.
Stop immediately if you are experiencing allergy symptoms.
Never take it if:
You are pregnant, or if your sexual partner is pregnant
You are on Videx
You have anemia or another hemoglobin disorder
You have autoimmune hepatitis
You have cirrhosis of the liver