Ribavirin is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Ribavirin is always used in combination with either interferon alfa-2b or peginterferon alfa-2a. HCV is an opportunistic infection. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems.
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related use of ribavirin to treat chronic HCV infection.
In addition to recommendations for the medicine's use in treating chronic HCV infection, the guidelines include recommendations on the “off-label” use of ribavirin to treat acute HCV infection in HIV-infected individuals. “Off-label” use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used “off-label.”
Before taking ribavirin, tell your health care provider:
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from ribavirin. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
Take ribavirin according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much ribavirin to take and when to take it. Before you start ribavirin and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
More information about ribavirin is available:
Last Reviewed: May 7, 2013
Last Updated: May 7, 2013