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Rebetol (generically known as ribavirin) is an antiviral medication used together with other antiviral medications (such as interferon or sofosbuvir) to treat chronic (long-lasting) hepatitis. It works by slowing the growth of the virus and stimulating the body's immune system to fight the infection. It reduces the amount of hepatitis C virus in the body, which may help the liver recover.

Ribavirin is a synthetic antiviral nucleoside analog that must be used in combination with other antiviral medications, such as interferons, to effectively treat chronic hepatitis C viral infection. Ribavirin triphosphate, the active metabolite of ribavirin, inhibits viral mRNA polymerase and reduces the production of the hepatitis C virus.

Use and Dosage

Use Rebetol only as directed by your doctor. The dosage and duration of treatment will depend on your medical condition and response to therapy. Take Rebetol capsules by mouth with food, usually twice a day (morning and evening). Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of water. Do not crush, break, or chew the capsules.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and Continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not stop taking Rebetol without first consulting your doctor, even if you start feeling better. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully for the best possible results and to avoid any potential side effects.

Side Effects

Common Side Effects of Rebetol (Ribavirin):

  • Changes in ability to taste food
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry, irritated, or itchy skin
  • Hair loss
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Painful or irregular menstruation (period)
  • Rash
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Serious Side Effects of Rebetol (Ribavirin):

  • Black, tarry stools
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Bright red blood in stools
  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Depression
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Excessive worry
  • Fever, chills, and other signs of infection
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Pain in the stomach or lower back
  • Starting to use street drugs or alcohol again if you used these substances in the past
  • Stomach bloating
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Vision changes
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Forms and Strength

Rebetol (Ribavirin) is available in the following forms and strengths:

Rebetol: Capsule

  • 200 mg


  • Ribavirin can cause serious or life-threatening blood and heart problems, monitor blood tests and heart function regularly during treatment.
  • Ribavirin can cause birth defects and should not be used during pregnancy or by male partners of pregnant women.
  • Ribavirin can interact with other medications, including other antiviral medications, disclose all medications and supplements being taken to a healthcare provider.
  • Ribavirin can cause a decrease in red and white blood cells and platelets, which can increase the risk of infection, bleeding, and anemia.
  • Ribavirin can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, fatigue, and muscle aches, and can also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Previous nonresponse: Patients who have previously failed to respond to Rebetol therapy are less likely to benefit from re-treatment.
  • Side effects Common side effects of Rebetol include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and headache. Patients should be monitored for signs of anemia and other side effects.
  • Drug interactions: Rebetol may interact with certain medications, including antacids, didanosine, stavudine, and zidovudine. Patients should inform their doctor of all medications they are taking before starting treatment with Rebetol.
  • Age-related problems: Elderly patients may be more susceptible to certain side effects and may require dosage adjustments due to age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems.
  • Pregnancy: Rebetol may cause severe birth defects if taken during pregnancy, so it should not be used by pregnant women or their male partners.
  • Breastfeeding: It is not known if Rebetol passes into breast milk, breastfeeding women avoid using Rebetol.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can Rebetol be used alone to treat hepatitis C?

No, Rebetol is always used in combination with other medications, such as interferon, to treat hepatitis C.

How long does it take for Rebetol to start working?

The timeline for response to Rebetol therapy varies from person to person. It may take several weeks or months for a patient to respond to treatment, and continued therapy may be necessary for a year or more.

Can Rebetol be used to treat other viral infections?

Yes, Rebetol may be used to treat other viral infections, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and certain forms of the flu.

What should I do if I miss a dose of Rebetol?

If you miss a dose of Rebetol, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.

Are there any foods or drinks that should be avoided while taking Rebetol?

Some patients experience nausea and vomiting while taking Rebetol, so it is generally recommended to avoid spicy or fatty foods and alcohol while on therapy.


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Online Pharmacies Canada has provided information from third parties intended to increase awareness and does not contain all the information about Rebetol (Ribavirin). Talk to your doctor or other qualified medical practitioners for medical attention or advice, or if you have any concerns about Rebetol (Ribavirin).