Rebetol

Generic Name: Ribavirin

  • What is Rebetol?

    Rebetol is an antiviral medicine used in combination with interferon alfa-2b (Intron A or PegIntron) to treat chronic (long-term) hepatitis C infection. Rebetol is available in capsules and an oral solution.

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

    Do not take Rebetol alone to treat chronic hepatitis C infection. It must be used with interferon alfa-2b (Intron A or PegIntron) to treat chronic hepatitis C infection.

    Rebetol can cause a significant drop in your red blood cell count and cause anemia. Anemia can cause a heart attack and worsening of heart problems. Tell your doctor if you have ever had any heart problems. Rebetol may not be right for you. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience chest pain.

    Adults and children who take Rebetol, especially teenagers, are more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempt to hurt themselves while taking Rebetol. Tell your doctor immediately or go to the nearest hospital emergency room if you have new or worse depression, or thoughts about suicide or dying.

    Rebetol can cause birth defects or death of your unborn baby. Do not take Rebetol if you or your sexual partner is pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. Do not become pregnant within 6 months after stopping Rebetol treatment. You must use 2 forms of birth control when you take Rebetol and for the 6 months after treatment. If you are a woman, you must have a pregnancy test before starting Rebetol, every month while taking Rebetol, and every month for the 6 months after the last dose of Rebetol.

    If you or your sexual partner becomes pregnant while taking Rebetol, tell your doctor immediately.

  • Who should not take Rebetol?

    Do not take Rebetol if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients. Also, do not take Rebetol if you have certain types of hepatitis (such as autoimmune hepatitis), certain blood disorders (such as thalassemia major or sickle-cell anemia), severe kidney disease, or are taking didanosine (Videx).

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

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Rebetol. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have or ever had treatment for hepatitis C that did not work for you, breathing problems, vision problems, certain blood disorders (such as anemia), high blood pressure, heart problems, or have had a heart attack, thyroid problems, liver or kidney problems, HIV (AIDS) infection or any immunity problems, mental health problems (such as depression or thoughts of suicide), an organ transplant, or diabetes.

  • 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 and children: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your body weight.

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

  • How should I take Rebetol?

    Take Rebetol exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take extra doses or take more often without asking your doctor.

    Take Rebetol with food and drink plenty of water, especially when you first begin treatment. Do not open, break, or crush Rebetol capsules; swallow capsules whole.

  • What should I avoid while taking Rebetol?

    Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while taking Rebetol.

    To reduce the damage to your teeth and gums from dry mouth, do not become dehydrated.

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

    If Rebetol 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 Rebetol with the following: azathioprine, didanosine, or HIV medications known as nucleoside analogues (such as lamivudine, stavudine, or zidovudine).

  • What are the possible side effects of Rebetol?

    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: anemia (possibly severe), anxiety, blood disorders, chills, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, fever, hair loss, headache, insomnia, irritability, joint or muscle pain, nausea, shortness of breath, skin problems, slowed growth in children, stomach pain, vision loss, vomiting, weight loss

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

    Rebetol may cause harm to your unborn baby if you take it during pregnancy. The effects of Rebetol during breastfeeding are unknown. Tell you doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

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

    If you miss a dose of Rebetol, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Rebetol?

    Store the capsules at room temperature. Store the solution at room temperature or in the refrigerator.