Hepatitis Patients: Should You Take Generic Ribavirin?

The Ribavirin Verdict: Generic vs. The Rest

The Hepatitis Ribavirin Verdict: Generic vs. The Rest. Image courtesy of Drugs A-Z

Are you looking for a powerful drug that can save you from hepatitis C? If so, you may have already consulted several professional health experts. You’re likely to come up with their single recommendation: Generic ribavirin, which is a potent antiviral drug used for treating hepatitis C.  Has this drug surpassed the standards of national health organizations?  A big YES. In the US, Generic ribavirin is already approved and recommended by the Food and Drug Administration for treating virus infections, including hepatitis C.

Ribavirin Overview and Mechanism

Ribavirin is the generic name of this antiviral drug. It’s also being sold with the brand names of Rebetol, Copegus, Ribasphere, Virazole and Ribapak. Furthermore, ribavirin is a nebulizer treatment, and thus, it is an ideal solution for patients suffering from syncytial viruses. Ribavirin has been deemed as a beneficial drug for hepatitis C treatment. Ribavirin is effective in the induction of viral mutation and stalling some liver enzymes, thereby affecting the virus that invades the internal systems of hepatitis C patients.  As such, the drug toils in a way that even stifles uncertainty among many works of research. However, one absolute conclusion surfaces in all the experiments about the effect of ribavirin in treating hepatitis; it’s beneficial for individuals experiencing the said liver disease. 

What Makes it More Effective?

While the ribavirin alone is enough in dealing with hepatitis C, it does better when it’s combined with interferon.

The two have actually been considered perfect mates in overturning the virus that causes hepatitis C.  The recommended scheme of ribavirin is when it’s consumed with pegylated interferon.  This kind of hepatitis C therapy is ideal for many people, as that has been revealed in several studies.  However, the success of the said treatment is partly dependent on the body type, age, and stage of hepatitis C in the patient.

For patients diagnosed with hepatitis C: in order to make sure that ribavirin is safe for your system, you should pay close attention to the recommended dosage of this medication.   The amount of ribavirin will depend on the genotype of the virus that the person is infected with. In addition, it is also based on the weight of the patient.  People with hepatitis C are often advised to take 800 milligrams to 1,400 milligrams daily.  In order to further spare you from any danger, you have to split the intake of ribavirin into a couple of doses every twelve hours.  To sift the most out of ribavirin, you have to follow the said standard.

What would it Cost to the Patient?

While Ribavirin is a stellar solution in treating hepatitis C, it is also costly. Nonetheless, patients have to keep in mind that prices should be second to the success rate of medications. Along with the subsided risks of danger and more effective results, it works more effectively with interferon.  Although the full cost of a complete course of ribavirin can be overwhelming, it can be streamlined by health insurance.

Side Effects and Precautions

While ribavirin is a great tactic when it comes to approaching hepatitis C, it isn’t unbound to negative effects. People who meet side effects from this drug should limit their medication. To a certain extent, anemia and birth defects are believed to be common side effects of this drug. Furthermore:

  • Pregnant women should not take ribavirin, as it can significantly upturn the risk of birth defects.
  • Breastfeeding mothers must also avoid taking ribavirin. Not only do these drugs pose adverse upshots for the mother, but it can also be detrimental to the infant as well.
  • People with severe kidney disease should also keep off of ribavirin.
  • If you have heart complications, do not take ribavirin unless insisted by your doctor for qualified reasons.
  • People with autoimmune hepatitis should also avoid the said medication.

Above all, ribavirin is a commanding solution against hepatitis C. While ingesting it alone is worth every dollar, taking it with interferon makes it even more worth it. However, hepatitis patients ought to keep in mind that despite all the merits of these two drugs, things come with risks. Thus, their consumption should be coupled with responsibility in following the prevailing guidelines of taking ribavirin as hepatitis C treatment.


Reddy KR, Shiffman ML, Morgan TR, Zeuzem S, Hadziyannis S, Hamzeh FM, Wright TL, Fried M. Impact of ribavirin dose reductions in hepatitis C virus genotype 1 patients completing peginterferon alfa-2a/ribavirin treatment. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Jan;5(1):124-9.

Feuerstadt P, Bunim AL, Garcia H, Karlitz JJ, Massoumi H, Thosani AJ, Pellecchia A, Wolkoff AW, Gaglio PJ, Reinus JF. Effectiveness of hepatitis C treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin in urban minority patients. Hepatology. 2010 Apr;51(4):1137-43.

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