Ribavirin in hepatitis
Ribavirin for hepatitis C
Ribavirin is a small purine nucleoside analogue that inhibits the replication of a variety of DNA and RNA viruses. Although the mechanism is not fully understood, it seems to inhibit nucleic acid syntheis, perhaps via inhibition of viral messenger RNA synthesis.
Although emergence of viral resistance to ribavirin has not been documented, chronic therapy is associated with dose-related effects of anaemia and bone marrow suppression. Common side effects include headache, tiredness, muscle pain, fever, and CNS disturbances such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety.
What parameters should be frequently monitored in a patient receiving ribavirin for HCV infection?
Extra info: Although patients often complain of the adverse effects indicated in answer A, it is important that clinicians monitor for evidence of bone marrow suppression. Complete blood counts including haemoglobin and leukocytes should be checked weekly and the patient should be monitored frequently for signs of depression.