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Information about Ribavirin Inhalation

Brand Name(s): Virazole

Generic Name Ribavirin Inhalation

What is ribavirin inhalation?

RIBAVIRIN (Virazole®) is an antiviral agent. Ribavirin treats severe bronchitis or pneumonia caused by viruses in certain hospitalized infants and children. Ribavirin is not for the treatment of simple viral infections. Ribavirin is for inhalation through the mouth and nose into the lungs. Generic ribavirin inhalation is not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I use ribavirin?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • anemia
  • breathing difficulty
  • heart problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to ribavirin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Ribavirin is only for life-threatening infections and is given by trained personnel in a hospital setting. Because of potentially serious side effects, careful monitoring of ribavirin use is necessary. Continuous aerosol administration will be given 12 to 18 hours a day for between 3 and 7 days.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What drug(s) may interact with ribavirin?

  • medicines to treat HIV, especially zidovudine (AZT), lamivudine, or stavudine (d4T)

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from using ribavirin?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • increased difficulty breathing
  • heart or circulation problems

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • eye irritation
  • skin rash
  • headache

What should I watch for while taking ribavirin?

Close monitoring of respiratory function is necessary during treatment.

Visitors and health care workers are at risk of exposure to ribavirin by breathing the mist from the air. Avoid visits during and just after treatments, and keep visits short. Eye discomfort may be worse in people who wear contact lenses; wearing eye glasses or protective eye goggles may decrease possible side effects. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding do not visit a patient receiving ribavirin.

Where can I keep my medicine?

This does not apply.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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