What You Need to Know About Rapivab

Rapivab Antiviral Medication. Biocryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Rapivab is an antiviral medication that was approved by the FDA to treat influenza on Dec 19, 2014. Unlike common antiviral medications such as Tamiflu and Relenza that are currently used in the US, Rapivab is administered by IV, not orally.

Dosing and Administration

Rapivab is given in a single dose and is recommended for adults 18 or over who have had symptoms for 48 hours or less. 

Most adults will receive a 600mg dose that is administered over 15-30 minutes.

Those with kidney problems may need a smaller dose. If your health care provider determines Rapivab is an appropriate treatment option, he will prescribe the correct dose based on the manufacturer's recommendations.

Side Effects and Warnings

The most common side effect reported when using Rapivab was diarrhea.

Some lab values were elevated or altered in some people while using Rapivab. Talk to your health care provider if you have chronic health conditions that may be affected by a change in lab values including ALT, serum blood glucose, CPK and neutrophils.

Rare cases of serious skin infections have occurred in patients taking this medication. These include Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and erythema multiforme.

According to the manufacturer, "Patients with influenza may be at an increased risk of hallucinations, delirium and abnormal behavior early in their illness. There have been post-marketing reports (from Japan) of delirium and abnormal behavior leading to injury in patients with influenza who were receiving neuraminidase inhibitors, including Rapivab.

Because these events were reported voluntarily during clinical practice, estimates of frequency cannot be made, but they appear to be uncommon."

Important Note

Although antiviral medications are often prescribed to reduce the severity of flu symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness, Rapivab has not been shown to prevent secondary complications from the flu such as pneumonia or other bacterial infections.

Rapivab has been approved for use in the United States in adults over the age of 18 with uncomplicated influenza. The efficacy of the medication for people who require hospitalization due to the flu could not be established during clinical trials.

If You Get the Flu

If you develop flu symptoms and seek treatment early in the illness (within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms) your healthcare provider may decide that you could benefit from antiviral medications. Antiviral options for the flu include Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Relenza (zanamivir) and now Rapivab (peramivir). These medications are most effective if started within the first 24 hours of the onset of symptoms but may be beneficial if started within 48 hours.

If you do not take antiviral medications for your flu symptoms, there are other things you can do when you get the flu to help yourself feel better. Know what to watch for if your symptoms get serious, stay home from work and make sure you are taking the right over the counter medications to get relief from your symptoms.


"FDA Approves Rapivab to Treat Flu Infection". FDA News Release. 22 Dec 14. US Food and Drug Administration. Department of Health and Human Services. 4 Jan 15. 

"Important Safety Information". Rapivab (peramivir injection). 2014. Briocryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 19 Jan 15.

Continue Reading