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Current and Future Medications for Hepatitis C (cont.)

Ribavirin Drugs

Ribavirin drugs include medications such as Rebetol and Copegus.

How do ribavirin drugs work? Ribavirin drugs are like antibiotics for certain viruses. By itself, ribavirin has little effect on HCV, but it does help interferon work better.

Who should not use these medications? Individuals with allergy to ribavirin and those with severe kidney disease should not take these drugs. Because of the risk of birth defects, pregnant women, and men whose partners are pregnant, should not take ribavirin. Once treatment is started, pregnancy should be avoided with effective birth control measures.

Dosage and Administration: Ribavirin tablets or capsules are taken each day.

Drug or food interactions: When taken with didanosine (Videx), life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas has occurred.

Side effects: Ribavirin may cause severe anemia, worsening of heart disease, rash, and inflammation of the pancreas.

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

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