Approved by Health Canada and Covered by BC PharmaCare: Yes
Treatment Description: Ribavirin (RBV) is a nucleoside analogue. Ribavirin is used in combination with direct acting antiviral treatments to stop viruses from reproducing and spreading. It does this by disturbing a virus’s way of copying itself and changing a body’s immune response towards viruses. This gives a treatment the best possible chance to cure.
Traditionally, ribavirin has been part of a treatment combination with pegylated interferon (Pegasys). However, stand-alone pills are now used with the treatments. See below for more about treatments that are combined with ribavirin to create interferon-free combinations.
Usage Warning: Ribavirin is a drug that may harm fetuses. Tell your doctor if you may be or may become pregnant.
Length of Treatment: 12, 16, or 24 weeks (See the page for the treatment it is being combined with for more information)
Daily Dose: Usually 2 pills. Half of the required daily dose is taken in the morning and half is taken at night. The number of pills required depends on the patient’s weight. Typically, the dose is 1,000 mg/day for persons less than 165 lbs. (75 kg) and 1,200 mg/day for those 165 lbs. (75 kg.) or greater.
Common Side Effects:
- Anemia, hemolytic (low red cells)
- Dizziness / lightheadedness
- Increased heart rate
- Itchy / dry skin
- Loss of appetite
- Mood issues (anxiety, depression, irritability, moodiness)
- Shortness of breath
- Taste changes
- Trouble concentrating
- Upset stomach (dyspepsia)
Ribavirin Treatment Combinations
Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) + Ribavirin
Approved by BC’s PharmaCare for the treatment of hep C genotype 2 or 3 as a limited coverage drug.
More information about the treatments above, can be found on the webpages for:
- Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir)
- Zepatier (elbasvir and grazoprevir)
- Sovaldi (sofosbuvir)
- Daklinza (daclatasvir) in combination with sofosbuvir, or
- Epclusa (sofosbuvir and velpatasvir)
Talk to your healthcare provider for more information or to start the treatment process.
Ibavyr Patient Support Program
Canadians prescribed ribavirin (brand name Ibavyr) have the opportunity to request to be enrolled in the Ibavyr Patient Support Program. For more information, contact your doctor, nurse, or call the program at: 1-844-602-6858.