What is ribavirin?

Ribavirin is a synthetically manufactured drug listed as an active ingredient , which belongs to the line of drugs called antivirals or nucleoside analogs, which attack certain pathogenic microorganisms that cause viral infections in the body.

  • Ribavirin, thanks to its mechanism of action, acts as an inhibitor of the genetic information of viruses , preventing them from reproducing in the human body, alleviating various viral infections .
  • It is used to treat:
    • Viral infections such as cold sores, herpetic gingivostomatitis.
    • Primary and recurrent genital herpes, herpes zoster, and chickenpox in immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients.
    • Mumps, hepatitis A, B and acute hepatitis C viruses, as well as chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
    • Respiratory infections due to respiratory syncytial virus.
    • Parainfluenza and influenza A and B.
    • Recurrent genital herpes (prophylaxis).

Dosage and routes of administration of ribavirin

Ribavirin is sold in several presentations, which are usually 400 mg tablets or capsules , oral solution in a 120-ml bottle, injectable solution in a 12-ml vial, and drop solution for pediatric use in a 12-ml dropper bottle.

The administration is done according to the presentation used, being orally, intramuscularly or intravenously, and the informative dosage may be as follows:

  • Tablets: Adults up to 1,200 mg/day, every 8 hours. Children 15-20 mg/kg/day every 8 hours.
  • Injectable solution: Adults 12 ml daily divided into 2 or 3 intramuscular or direct intravenous applications. Children 0.2 ml/kg/day divided into 2 or 3 intramuscular or intravenous doses.

What products contain ribavirin?

Some of the medicines that contain ribavirin are:

  • Virona®
  • Virazide®
  • Rebetol®
  • Copegus®


  • Vilona® is a drug whose active component is ribavirin with antiviral effect, which comes in 400 mg capsules.
  • It is indicated for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in adults.


  • Virazide® is an antiviral medication that uses ribavirin as an active ingredient in various presentations.
  • It is used to treat viral infections such as cold sores, herpetic gingivostomatitis, primary and recurrent genital herpes.


  • Rebetol® is a synthetically manufactured medicine that uses ribavirin as an active ingredient, which comes in the form of an oral solution.
  • It is indicated to stop the multiplication of many types of viruses, including the hepatitis virus in several of its variants.


  • Copegus® is a direct-acting antiviral that uses ribavirin as its active ingredient, in various presentations.
  • It is used to treat the hepatitis C virus, in combination with other medicines.

Ribavirin Side Effects

Clinical data indicate that the use of ribavirin may cause some of the following adverse reactions in certain patient populations :

  • Possible allergic reactions due to patient contact with any component of the formula.
  • Difficulty to sleep.
  • Memory loss .
  • Muscle or bone pain.
  • Hair loss .
  • Constipation , upset stomach, heartburn, vomiting , and diarrhea .
  • Viral infection, pharyngitis, bacterial infection, fungal infection, influenza among others.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • In children and adolescents, possible growth inhibition.
  • Changes in the perception of food flavors.
  • Alterations of the central nervous system (CNS) such as depression and suicidal feelings.

Important: If any of these symptoms or any other symptoms not listed appear during treatment with this drug, please discontinue use and consult your doctor .

Ribavirin Contraindications and Warnings

Ribavirin treatment is contraindicated in the following cases:

  • Patient hypersensitivity to any component of the formula.
  • In patients with cardiovascular risk.
  • During the pregnancy period.
  • During breastfeeding .
  • In patients with kidney failure or liver damage.

To emphasize: Provide all the information related to your health history to your doctor, before starting treatment with this drug.

Avoid it if you have:

  • History of hypersensitivity to ribavirin.
  • Medication or history of medication for serious CNS diseases.
  • History of serious heart disease .


  • Pharmaceutical products such as ribavirin, must be administered with a prescription or medical prescription.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions during administration of ribavirin.
  • Do not leave this product within the reach of children.
  • Avoid mixing ribavirin treatment with alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid consuming this product in combination with other medications for other pathologies, without medical authorization.

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