Ribavirin/interferon Alfa-2b (By mouth, injection)

Introduction

Treats hepatitis C. This medicine was withdrawn from the US market in November 2004.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine is you have ever had an allergic reaction to interferon alfa or ribavirin. You should not use this medicine if you have an autoimmune type of hepatitis, or if you are pregnant or your female sexual partner is pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Injectable

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine is a combination of a capsule to be taken by mouth and shots to be given under the skin. Drink plenty of fluids while you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine may be given by a home health caregiver. You may be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to..
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one. Your doctor might ask you to sign some forms to show that you understand this information.
  • If the medicine for injection looks cloudy, has particles floating in it, or has changed color, do not use it. Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
  • You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
  • Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you store this medicine at home, keep it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine, containers, and other supplies. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using zidovudine (Retrovir®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. The medicine may also cause birth defects if the father is using it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Use two forms of birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 6 months after your treatment ends. This is very important whether you are a man or a woman.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have heart or kidney disease, hepatitis B, thyroid problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV or AIDS, a history of mental problems, or if you have had an organ transplant.
  • You may have flu symptoms, such as fever, chills, tiredness, and muscle aches when you first start using this medicine. Ask your doctor what you should do if you develop these symptoms. Using your shot at bedtime may allow you to sleep through these symptoms.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Bloating, dark urine, fast heartbeat, loss of appetite, pain in stomach or side.
  • Changes in vision or trouble seeing.
  • Depressed mood, thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness.
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Hair loss.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or stomach upset.
  • Redness, itching, pain, or swelling where the shot was given.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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