Before Using

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of ribavirin tablets in children younger than 5 years of age, ribavirin capsules and oral liquid in children younger than 3 years of age. The safety and efficacy of ribavirin tablets, capsules, and oral liquid have not been established in these age groups.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of ribavirin in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving ribavirin.


Information about this ribavirin-oral-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters X Studies in animals or pregnant women have demonstrated positive evidence of fetal abnormalities. This drug should not be used in women who are or may become pregnant because the risk clearly outweighs any possible benefit.


There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Didanosine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Abacavir
  • Azathioprine
  • Mercaptopurine
  • Stavudine
  • Warfarin
  • Zalcitabine
  • Zidovudine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Interferon Alfa-2b

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Autoimmune hepatitis (liver inflammation) or
  • Heart disease (unstable), or history of or
  • Liver disease (including cirrhosis), severe or
  • Sickle cell anemia (red blood cell disorder) or
  • Thalassemia major (genetic blood disorder)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Blood or bone marrow problems (e.g., anemia, pancytopenia) or
  • Breathing problems and lung disease (e.g., pneumonia, pulmonary infiltrates, pulmonary hypertension) or
  • Colitis (inflammation of the colon) or
  • Depression or
  • Diabetes or
  • Drug abuse, history of or
  • Eye or vision problems (e.g., loss of vision, retinopathy) or
  • Heart attack, history of or
  • Heart or blood vessel disease, history of or
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or
  • Sarcoidosis (lung disease) or
  • Thyroid disease or
  • Weakened immune system—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Blood problems (e.g., spherocytosis) or
  • Stomach problems (e.g., bleeding), history of—Use with caution. May increase risk for severe anemia.
  • Infection (e.g., adenovirus, RSV) or
  • Influenza or parainfluenza—Copegus® should not be used in patients with these conditions. Your doctor may give you inhaled ribavirin.
  • Kidney disease—Higher blood levels of ribavirin can occur, which increases the risk of serious side effects.
  • Liver disease, decompensated or
  • Organ transplant (e.g., liver, kidney)—Use of ribavirin and peginterferon alfa-2a combination have not been established in patients with these conditions.