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Back to Infections Drug Index

Back to Antivirals

Name: Ribavirin

Pregnancy Category X

Drug classes

  • Antiviral drug

Therapeutic actions

Antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza virus, and herpes simplex virus; mechnanism of action is not known.


Carefully selected hospitalized infants and children with RSV infection of lower respiratory tract

Orphan drug use: treatment of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome

Unlabeled use for aerosol: treatment of some influenza A and B infections

Unlabeled uses of oral preparation: treatment of some viral diseases, including acute and chronic hepatitis, herpes genitals, measles, Lassa fever


Allergy to drug product, COPD, pregnancy (causes fetal damage), lactation.

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Adverse effects

  • CV: Cardiac arrest, hypotension
  • Respiratory: Deteriorating respiratory function, pneumothorax, apnea, bacterial pneumonia
  • Hematologic: Anemia
  • Dermatologic: Skin rash
  • Other: Conjunctivitis

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