Copegus

Generic Name: Ribavirin

  • What is Copegus?

    Copegus is a medicine used with Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a) to treat chronic (long-term hepatitis C) infection in people whose liver still works normally and who have not been treated before with a medicine called interferon alfa.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Copegus?

    Do not take Copegus alone to treat chronic hepatitis C infection. It must be used with Pegasys.

    Copegus can cause hemolytic anemia (destruction of red blood cells). This can worsen any heart problems you have and cause you to have a heart attack. Tell your doctor if you have ever had any heart problems. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience chest pain.

    Copegus can cause harm or death to your unborn baby. You, or your female sexual partner, should not become pregnant while taking these medications, and for 6 months after treatment is over. You must have a negative pregnancy test before starting treatment, each month during treatment, and for 6 months after your treatment ends. You must use 2 forms of effective birth control during treatment and for 6 months after treatment is over.

  • Who should not take Copegus?

    Do not take Copegus if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or if you or your female sexual partner is pregnant or may become pregnant.

    Do not take Copegus if you have blood disorders (such as thalassemia major or sickle-cell anemia) or are taking didanosine (Videx or Videx EC).

    Do not take Copegus, in combination with Pegasys, if you have autoimmune hepatitis (inflammation of the liver that occurs when immune cells attack your liver's normal cells), or worsening liver disease with cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Copegus?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Copegus. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have previously failed treatment for hepatitis C; allergies; breathing problems; vision problems; certain blood disorders (such as anemia); high blood pressure, heart problems, or have had a heart attack; thyroid problems; diabetes; other liver problems (such as hepatitis B); human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (AIDS) or other immunity problems; mental health problems (such as depression or thoughts of suicide); kidney problems; an organ transplant; drug addiction or abuse; or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: The usual dose is 800-1200 milligrams (mg) a day, (four to six 200-mg tablets), divided into smaller doses taken 2 times a day. Take Copegus in combination with Pegasys. Your doctor will adjust your dose according to your individual response to the medication and your condition.

    Children ≥5 years: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child based on their body weight.

    If you have kidney impairment, your doctor will adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take Copegus?

    Take Copegus exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Take it with food.

  • What should I avoid while taking Copegus?

    Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how Copegus affects you. Copegus can make you feel tired, dizzy, or confused.

    Do not drink alcohol. This can worsen your liver disease.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Copegus?

    If Copegus is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Copegus with azathioprine or certain HIV medications (such as didanosine, lamivudine, stavudine, or zidovudine).

  • What are the possible side effects of Copegus?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: anxiety, breathing problems, depression, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, feeling irritable, "flu-like" symptoms (such as feeling tired, fever, headache, and muscle or joint aches), hair loss, itchiness, loss of appetite, mood changes, nausea, vision loss, vomiting

  • Can I receive Copegus if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Do not take Copegus if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Copegus can cause harm or even death to your unborn baby. The effects of Copegus during breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Copegus?

    If you miss a dose of Copegus, take it with food as soon as you remember during the same day. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Copegus?

    Store at room temperature.