RIBASPHERE (Tablet, Film Coated)
CHC Monoinfection: The recommended dose of RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) tablets is provided in Table 4. The recommended duration of treatment for patients previously untreated with ribavirin and interferon is 24 to 48 weeks. The daily dose of RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) is 800 mg to 1200 mg administered orally in two divided doses. The dose should be individualized to the patient depending on baseline disease characteristics (e.g., genotype), response to therapy, and tolerability of the regimen (see Table 4). In the pivotal clinical trials, patients were instructed to take ribavirin with food; therefore, patients are advised to take RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) with food.<br/>Dose Modifications: If severe adverse reactions or laboratory abnormalities develop during combination RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP)/peginterferon alfa-2a therapy, the dose should be modified or discontinued, if appropriate, until the adverse reactions abate. If intolerance persists after dose adjustment, RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP)/ peginterferon alfa-2a therapy should be discontinued. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) should be administered with caution to patients with pre-existing cardiac disease (see Table 5). Patients should be assessed before commencement of therapy and should be appropriately monitored during therapy. If there is any deterioration of cardiovascular status, therapy should be stopped . Once RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) has been withheld due to either a laboratory abnormality or clinical manifestation, an attempt may be made to restart RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) at 600 mg daily and further increase the dose to 800 mg daily depending upon the physician's judgment. However, it is not recommended that RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) be increased to its original assigned dose (1000 mg to 1200 mg).<br/>Renal Impairment: RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) should not be used in patients with creatinine clearance<50 mL/min .
RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP), the Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals brand name for ribavirin, is a nucleoside analogue with antiviral activity. The chemical name of ribavirin is 1-��-D-ribofuranosyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide and has the following structural formula: The molecular formula of ribavirin is CHNOand the molecular weight is 244.2. Ribavirin is a white to off-white powder. It is freely soluble in water and slightly soluble in anhydrous alcohol. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) is available as a blue-colored (shade depending on strength), capsule-shaped, film-coated tablet for oral administration. Each tablet contains 200 mg, 400 mg, or 600 mg of ribavirin and the following inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, croscarmellose sodium, povidone K27-33, magnesium stearate, and purified water. The coating of the 200-mg tablet contains partially hydrolyzed polyvinyl alcohol, titanium dioxide, polyethylene glycol 3350, talc, FD&C blue #2 [indigo carmine aluminum lake], and carnauba wax. The coating of the 400- and 600-mg tablet contains partially hydrolyzed polyvinyl alcohol, titanium dioxide, polyethylene glycol 3350, talc, FD&C blue #1 [brilliant blue FCF aluminum lake], and carnauba wax.<br/>Mechanism of Action: Ribavirin is a synthetic nucleoside analogue. The mechanism by which the combination of ribavirin and an interferon product exerts its effects against the hepatitis C virus has not been fully established.
Pharmacokinetics: Multiple dose ribavirin pharmacokinetic data are available for HCV patients who received ribavirin in combination with peginterferon alfa-2a. Following administration of 1200 mg/day with food for 12 weeks mean��SD (n=39; body weight>75 kg) AUCwas 25,361��7110 ng��hr/mL and Cwas 2748��818 ng/mL. The average time to reach Cwas 2 hours. Trough ribavirin plasma concentrations following 12 weeks of dosing with food were 1662��545 ng/mL in HCV infected patients who received 800 mg/day (n=89), and 2112��810 ng/mL in patients who received 1200 mg/day (n=75; body weight>75 kg). The terminal half-life of ribavirin following administration of a single oral dose of ribavirin is about 120 to 170 hours. The total apparent clearance following administration of a single oral dose of ribavirin is about 26 L/h. There is extensive accumulation of ribavirin after multiple dosing (twice daily) such that the Cat steady state was four-fold higher than that of a single dose.<br/>Effect of Food on Absorption of Ribavirin: Bioavailability of a single oral dose of ribavirin was increased by co-administration with a high-fat meal. The absorption was slowed (Twas doubled) and the AUCand Cincreased by 42% and 66%, respectively, when ribavirin was taken with a high-fat meal compared with fasting conditions .<br/>Elimination and Metabolism: The contribution of renal and hepatic pathways to ribavirin elimination after administration of ribavirin is not known. In vitro studies indicate that ribavirin is not a substrate of CYP450 enzymes.<br/>Special Populations:<br/>Race: A pharmacokinetic study in 42 subjects demonstrated there is no clinically significant difference in ribavirin pharmacokinetics among Black (n=14), Hispanic (n=13) and Caucasian (n=15) subjects.<br/>Renal Dysfunction: The pharmacokinetics of ribavirin following administration of ribavirin have not been studied in patients with renal impairment and there are limited data from clinical trials on administration of ribavirin in patients with creatinine clearance<50 mL/min. Therefore, patients with creatinine clearance<50 mL/min should not be treated with ribavirin .<br/>Hepatic Impairment: The effect of hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of ribavirin following administration of ribavirin has not been evaluated. The clinical trials of ribavirin were restricted to patients with Child-Pugh class A disease.<br/>Pediatric Patients: Pharmacokinetic evaluations in pediatric patients have not been performed.<br/>Elderly Patients: Pharmacokinetic evaluations in elderly patients have not been performed.<br/>Gender: Ribavirin pharmacokinetics, when corrected for weight, are similar in male and female patients.<br/>Drug Interactions: In vitro studies indicate that ribavirin does not inhibit CYP450 enzymes.<br/>Nucleoside Analogues: In vitro data indicate ribavirin reduces phosphorylation of lamivudine, stavudine, and zidovudine. In vitro, didanosine or its active metabolite (dideoxyadenosine 5'���triphosphate) is increased when didanosine is co-administered with ribavirin, which could cause or worsen clinical toxicities .<br/>Drugs Metabolized by Cytochrome P450: There was no effect on the pharmacokinetics of representative drugs metabolized by CYP 2C9, CYP 2C19, CYP 2D6 or CYP 3A4. Treatment with peginterferon alfa-2a once weekly for 4 weeks in healthy subjects was associated with an inhibition of P450 1A2 and a 25% increase in theophylline AUC .
RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) is contraindicated in: RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) and peginterferon alfa-2a combination therapy is contraindicated in patients with:
RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) is available as tablets for oral administration. Each RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) 200-mg tablet contains 200 mg of ribavirin and is a capsule-shaped, light blue colored, film-coated tablet, debossed with���200���on one side and the logo���3RP���on the other side. Each RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) 400-mg tablet contains 400 mg of ribavirin and is a capsule-shaped, medium blue colored, film-coated tablet, debossed with���400���on one side and the logo���3RP���on the other side. Each RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) 600-mg tablet contains 600 mg of ribavirin and is a capsule-shaped, dark blue colored, film-coated tablet, debossed with���600���on one side and the logo���3RP���on the other side. They are packaged as follows: 200 mg Bottles of 168 NDC 66435-102-16 200 mg Bottles of 500 NDC 66435-102-95 400 mg Bottles of 56 NDC 66435-103-56 400 mg Bottles of 500 NDC 66435-103-95 600 mg Bottles of 56 NDC 66435-104-56 600 mg Bottles of 250 NDC 66435-104-92<br/>Storage Conditions: Store the RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) Tablets bottle at 25��C (77��F); excursions are permitted between 15��C and 30��C (59��F and 86��F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. Keep bottle tightly closed. ��PEGASYS is a registered trademark of Hoffmann���La Roche ��REBETRONis a trademark of Schering Corporation Rx only Manufactured by DSM PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. Greenville, NC 27834 for THREE RIVERS PHARMACEUTICALS, LLC Cranberry Township, PA 16066 XXXXXX December 2005 Printed in USA Copyright��2005 by Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals, LLC. All rights reserved.
RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) monotherapy is not effective for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection and should not be used alone for this indication . The primary clinical toxicity of ribavirin is hemolytic anemia. The anemia associated with ribavirin therapy may result in worsening of cardiac disease that has led to fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarctions. Patients with a history of significant or unstable cardiac disease should not be treated with ribavirin . Significant teratogenic and/or embryocidal effects have been demonstrated in all animal species exposed to ribavirin. In addition, ribavirin has a multiple dose half-life of 12 days, and it may persist in non-plasma compartments for as long as 6 months. Ribavirin therapy is contraindicated in women who are pregnant and in the male partners of women who are pregnant. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy during therapy and for 6 months after completion of therapy in both female patients and in female partners of male patients who are taking ribavirin therapy. At least two reliable forms of effective contraception must be utilized during treatment and during the 6-month posttreatment follow-up period .
The safety and efficacy of RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) and peginterferon alfa-2a therapy for the treatment of adenovirus, RSV, parainfluenza or influenza infections have not been established. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) should not be used for these indications. Ribavirin for inhalation has a separate package insert, which should be consulted if ribavirin inhalation therapy is being considered. The safety and efficacy of RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) and peginterferon alfa-2a therapy have not been established in liver or other organ transplant patients, patients with decompensated liver disease due to hepatitis C virus infection, patients who are non-responders to interferon therapy or patients coinfected with HBV or HIV and a CD4+ cell count<100 cells/��L.<br/>Information for Patients: Patients must be informed that ribavirin may cause birth defects and/or death of the exposed fetus. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) therapy must not be used by women who are pregnant or by men whose female partners are pregnant. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy in female patients and in female partners of male patients taking RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) therapy and for 6 months posttherapy. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) therapy should not be initiated until a report of a negative pregnancy test has been obtained immediately prior to initiation of therapy. Patients must perform a pregnancy test monthly during therapy and for 6 months posttherapy. Female patients of childbearing potential and male patients with female partners of childbearing potential must be advised of the teratogenic/embryocidal risks and must be instructed to practice effective contraception during RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) therapy and for 6 months posttherapy. Patients should be advised to notify the healthcare provider immediately in the event of a pregnancy . The most common adverse event associated with ribavirin is anemia, which may be severe . Patients should be advised that laboratory evaluations are required prior to starting RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) therapy and periodically thereafter (see Laboratory Tests). It is advised that patients be well hydrated, especially during the initial stages of treatment. Patients who develop dizziness, confusion, somnolence, and fatigue should be cautioned to avoid driving or operating machinery. Patients should be informed regarding the potential benefits and risks attendant to the use of RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP). Instructions on appropriate use should be given, including review of the contents of the enclosed MEDICATION GUIDE, which is not a disclosure of all or possible adverse effects. Patients should be advised to take RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) with food.<br/>Laboratory Tests: Before beginning RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) therapy, standard hematological and biochemical laboratory tests must be conducted for all patients. Pregnancy screening for women of childbearing potential must be done. After initiation of therapy, hematological tests should be performed at 2 weeks and 4 weeks and biochemical tests should be performed at 4 weeks. Additional testing should be performed periodically during therapy. Monthly pregnancy testing should be done during combination therapy and for 6 months after discontinuing therapy. The entrance criteria used for the clinical studies of ribavirin and peginterferon alfa-2a combination therapy may be considered as a guideline to acceptable baseline values for initiation of treatment: The maximum drop in hemoglobin usually occurred during the first 8 weeks of initiation of ribavirin therapy. Because of this initial acute drop in hemoglobin, it is advised that a complete blood count should be obtained pretreatment and at week 2 and week 4 of therapy or more frequently if clinically indicated. Additional testing should be performed periodically during therapy. Patients should then be followed as clinically appropriate.<br/>Drug Interactions: Results from a pharmacokinetic sub-study demonstrated no pharmacokinetic interaction between peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin.<br/>Nucleoside Analogues:<br/>Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility:<br/>Carcinogenesis: In a p53 (+/-) mouse carcinogenicity study and a rat 2-year carcinogenicity study at doses up to the maximum tolerated doses of 100 mg/kg/day and 60 mg/kg/day, respectively, ribavirin was not oncogenic. On a body surface area basis, these doses are approximately 0.5 and 0.6 times the maximum recommended human 24-hour dose of ribavirin.<br/>Mutagenesis: Ribavirin demonstrated mutagenic activity in the in vitro mouse lymphoma assay. No clastogenic activity was observed in an in vivo mouse micronucleus assay at doses up to 2000 mg/kg. However, results from studies published in the literature show clastogenic activity in the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay at oral doses up to 2000 mg/kg. A dominant lethal assay in rats was negative, indicating that if mutations occurred in rats they were not transmitted through male gametes. However, potential carcinogenic risk to humans cannot be excluded.<br/>Impairment of Fertility: In a fertility study in rats, ribavirin showed a marginal reduction in sperm counts at the dose of 100 mg/kg/day with no effect on fertility. Upon cessation of treatment, total recovery occurred after 1 spermatogenesis cycle. Abnormalities in sperm were observed in studies in mice designed to evaluate the time course and reversibility of ribavirin-induced testicular degeneration at doses of 15 to150 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.1 to 0.8 times the maximum recommended human 24-hour dose ofribavirin) administered for 3 to 6 months. Upon cessation of treatment, essentially total recovery from ribavirin-induced testicular toxicity was apparent within 1 or 2 spermatogenic cycles. Female patients of childbearing potential and male patients with female partners of childbearing potential should not receive RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) unless the patient and his/her partner are using effective contraception (two reliable forms). Based on a multiple dose half-life (t) of ribavirin of 12 days,effective contraception must be utilized for 6 months posttherapy (i.e., 15 half-lives of clearance for ribavirin). No reproductive toxicology studies have been performed using peginterferon alfa-2a in combination with RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP). However, peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin when administered separately, each has adverse effects on reproduction. It should be assumed that the effects produced by either agent alone would also be caused by the combination of the two agents.<br/>Pregnancy: Pregnancy: Category X Ribavirin produced significant embryocidal and/or teratogenic effects in all animal species in which adequate studies have been conducted. Malformations of the skull, palate, eye, jaw, limbs, skeleton, and gastrointestinal tract were noted. The incidence and severity of teratogenic effects increased with escalation of the drug dose. Survival of fetuses and offspring was reduced. In conventional embryotoxicity/teratogenicity studies in rats and rabbits, observed no-effect dose levels were well below those for proposed clinical use (0.3 mg/kg/day for both the rat and rabbit; approximately 0.06 times the recommended human 24-hour dose of ribavirin). No maternal toxicity or effects on offspring were observed in a peri/postnatal toxicity study in rats dosed orally at up to 1 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.01 times the maximum recommended human 24-hour dose of ribavirin).<br/>Treatment and Posttreatment: Potential Risk to the Fetus: Ribavirin is known to accumulate in intracellular components from where it is cleared very slowly. It is not known whether ribavirin is contained in sperm, and if so, will exert a potential teratogenic effect upon fertilization of the ova. In a study in rats, it was concluded that dominant lethality was not induced by ribavirin at doses up to 200 mg/kg for 5 days (up to 1.7times the maximum recommended human dose of ribavirin). However, because of the potential human teratogenic effects of ribavirin, male patients should be advised to take every precaution to avoid risk of pregnancy for their female partners. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) should not be used by pregnant women or by men whose female partners are pregnant. Female patients of childbearing potential and male patients with female partners of childbearing potential should not receive RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) unless the patient and his/her partner are using effective contraception (two reliable forms) during therapy and for 6 months posttherapy.<br/>Ribavirin Pregnancy Registry: A Ribavirin Pregnancy Registry has been established to monitor maternal-fetal outcomes of pregnancies of female patients and female partners of male patients exposed to ribavirin during treatment and for 6 months following cessation of treatment. Healthcare providers and patients are encouraged to report such cases by calling 1-800-593-2214.<br/>Animal Toxicology: Long-term study in the mouse and rat (18 to 24 months; dose 20 to 75, and 10 to 40 mg/kg/day, respectively, approximately 0.1 to 0.4 times the maximum human daily dose of ribavirin) have demonstrated a relationship between chronic ribavirin exposure and an increased incidence of vascular lesions (microscopic hemorrhages) in mice. In rats, retinal degeneration occurred in controls, but the incidence was increased in ribavirin-treated rats.<br/>Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether ribavirin is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and to avoid any potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from ribavirin, a decision should be made either to discontinue nursing or therapy with RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP), based on the importance of the therapy to the mother.<br/>Pediatric Use: Safety and effectiveness of RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) have not been established in patients below the age of 18.<br/>Geriatric Use: Clinical studies of ribavirin and peginterferon alfa-2a did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 or over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Specific pharmacokinetic evaluations for ribavirin in the elderly have not been performed. The risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) should not be administered to patients with creatinine clearance<50 mL/min. .<br/>Effect of Gender: No clinically significant differences in the pharmacokinetics of ribavirin were observed between male and female subjects.
No cases of overdose with ribavirin have been reported in clinical trials.
RIBASPHERE (Tablet, Film Coated)
Peginterferon alfa-2a in combination with ribavirin causes a broad variety of serious adverse reactions . The most common life-threatening or fatal events induced or aggravated by peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin were depression, suicide, relapse of drug abuse/overdose, and bacterial infections, each occurring at a frequency of<1%. In all studies, one or more serious adverse reactions occurred in 10% of CHC monoinfected patients receiving peginterferon alfa-2a alone or in combination with ribavirin. The most common serious adverse event (3% in CHC) was bacterial infection (e.g., sepsis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis, pyelonephritis, pneumonia). Other SAEsoccurred at a frequency of<1% and included: suicide, suicidal ideation, psychosis, aggression, anxiety, drug abuse and drug overdose, angina, hepatic dysfunction, fatty liver, cholangitis, arrhythmia, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune phenomena (e.g., hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, sarcoidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis), peripheral neuropathy, aplastic anemia, peptic ulcer, gastrointestinal bleeding, pancreatitis, colitis, corneal ulcer, pulmonary embolism, coma, myositis, cerebral hemorrhage, and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Nearly all patients in clinical trials experienced one or more adverse events. The most commonly reported adverse reactions were psychiatric reactions, including depression, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, and flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, pyrexia, myalgia, headache, and rigors. Other common reactions were anorexia, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, arthralgias, injection site reactions, alopecia, and pruritus. Ten percent of CHC monoinfected patients receiving 48 weeks of therapy with peginterferon alfa-2a in combination with ribavirin discontinued therapy. The most common reasons for discontinuation of therapy were psychiatric, flu-like syndrome (e.g., lethargy, fatigue, headache), dermatologic and gastrointestinal disorders and laboratory abnormalities (thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, and anemia). Overall 39% of patients with CHC required modification of peginterferon alfa-2a and/or ribavirin therapy. The most common reason for dose modification of peginterferon alfa-2a in CHC patients was for laboratory abnormalities; neutropenia (20%) and thrombocytopenia (4%). The most common reason for dose modification of ribavirin in CHC patients was anemia (22%). Peginterferon alfa-2a dose was reduced in 12% of patients receiving 1000 mg to 1200 mg ribavirin for 48 weeks and in 7% of patients receiving 800 mg ribavirin for 24 weeks. Ribavirin dose was reduced in 21% of patients receiving 1000 mg to1200 mg ribavirin for 48 weeks and in 12% of patients receiving 800 mg ribavirin for 24 weeks. Chronic hepatitis C monoinfected patients treated for 24 weeks with peginterferon alfa-2a and 800 mg ribavirin were observed to have lower incidence of serious adverse events (3% vs. 10%), hemoglobin<10 g/dL (3% vs. 15%), dose modifications of peginterferon alfa-2a (30% vs. 36%) and ribavirin (19% vs. 38%), and of withdrawal from treatment (5% vs. 15%) compared to patients treated for 48 weeks with peginterferon alfa-2a and 1000 mg or 1200 mg ribavirin. On the other hand, the overall incidence of adverse events appeared to be similar in the two treatment groups. Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying and controlled conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug. Also, the adverse event rates listed here may not predict the rates observed in a broader patient population in clinical practice.<br/>Laboratory Test Values: Anemia due to hemolysis is the most significant toxicity of ribavirin therapy. Anemia (hemoglobin<10 g/dL) was observed in 13% of all ribavirin and peginterferon alfa-2a combination-treated patients in clinical trials. The maximum drop in hemoglobin occurred during the first 8 weeks of initiation of ribavirin therapy .
RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) must not be used alone because ribavirin monotherapy is not effective for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. The safety and efficacy of ribavirin have only been established when used together with peginterferon alfa-2a, recombinant. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) and peginterferon alfa-2a should be discontinued in patients who develop evidence of hepatic decompensation during treatment. There are significant adverse events caused by ribavirin/peginterferon alfa-2a therapy, including severe depression and suicidal ideation, hemolytic anemia, suppression of bone marrow function, autoimmune and infectious disorders, pulmonary dysfunction, pancreatitis, and diabetes. The PEGASYS package insert and MEDICATION GUIDE should be reviewed in their entirety prior to initiation of combination treatment for additional safety information.<br/>General: Treatment with RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) and peginterferon alfa-2a should be administered under the guidance of a qualified physician and may lead to moderate to severe adverse experiences requiring dose reduction, temporary dose cessation or discontinuation of therapy.<br/>Pregnancy: Ribavirin may cause birth defects and/or death of the exposed fetus. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy in female patients and in female partners of male patients. Ribavirin has demonstrated significant teratogenic and/or embryocidal effects in all animal species in which adequate studies have been conducted. These effects occurred at doses as low as one twentieth of the recommended human dose of ribavirin. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) THERAPY SHOULD NOT BE STARTED UNLESS A REPORT OF A NEGATIVE PREGNANCY TEST HAS BEEN OBTAINED IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO PLANNED INITIATION OF THERAPY. Patients should be instructed to use at least two forms of effective contraception during treatment and for 6 months after treatment has been stopped. Pregnancy testing should occur monthly during RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) therapy and for 6 months after therapy has stopped .<br/>Anemia: The primary toxicity of ribavirin is hemolytic anemia (hemoglobin<10 g/dL), which was observed in approximately 13% of all ribavirin and peginterferon alfa-2a treated patients in clinical trials . The anemia associated with ribavirin occurs within 1 to 2 weeks of initiation of therapy. BECAUSE THE INITIAL DROP IN HEMOGLOBIN MAY BE SIGNIFICANT, IT IS ADVISED THAT HEMOGLOBIN OR HEMATOCRIT BE OBTAINED PRETREATMENT AND AT WEEK 2 AND WEEK 4 OF THERAPY OR MORE FREQUENTLY IF CLINICALLY INDICATED. Patients should then be followed asclinically appropriate. Fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarctions have been reported in patients with anemia caused by ribavirin. Patients should be assessed for underlying cardiac disease before initiation of ribavirin therapy. Patients with pre-existing cardiac disease should have electrocardiograms administered before treatment, and should be appropriately monitored during therapy. If there is any deterioration of cardiovascular status, therapy should be suspended or discontinued (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) Dosage Modification Guidelines). Because cardiac disease may be worsened by drug induced anemia, patients with a history of significant or unstable cardiac disease should not use RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) .<br/>Hepatic Failure: Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients with cirrhosis may be at risk of hepatic decompensation and death when treated with alpha interferons, including peginterferon alfa-2a. During treatment, patients' clinical status and hepatic function should be closely monitored, and peginterferon alfa-2a treatment should be immediately discontinued if decompensation (Child-Pugh score���6) is observed .<br/>Pulmonary: Pulmonary symptoms, including dyspnea, pulmonary infiltrates, pneumonitis and occasional cases of fatal pneumonia, have been reported during therapy with ribavirin and interferon. In addition, sarcoidosis or the exacerbation of sarcoidosis has been reported. If there is evidence of pulmonary infiltrates or pulmonary function impairment, the patient should be closely monitored and, if appropriate, combination RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP)/peginterferon alfa-2a treatment should be discontinued.<br/>Other: RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) and peginterferon alfa-2a therapy should be suspended in patients with signs and symptoms of pancreatitis, and discontinued in patients with confirmed pancreatitis. RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) should not be used in patients with creatinine clearance<50 mL/min . RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) must be discontinued immediately and appropriate medical therapy instituted if an acute hypersensitivity reaction (e.g., urticaria, angioedema, bronchoconstriction, anaphylaxis) develops. Transient rashes do not necessitate interruption of treatment.
RIBASPHERE (ribavirin, USP) in combination with peginterferon alfa-2a is indicated for the treatment of adults with chronic hepatitis C virus infection who have compensated liver disease and have not been previously treated with interferon alpha. Patients in whom efficacy was demonstrated included patients with compensated liver disease and histological evidence of cirrhosis (Child-Pugh class A).