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Ribavirin is given in
a mist form along with oxygen. The mist can be delivered through a large, clear
plastic hood placed over the head. Older children usually receive the medicine
through an oxygen tent over the bed or through a face mask. Treatment usually
lasts 3 to 5 days.
Ribavirin prevents the respiratory syncytial virus from reproducing.
Ribavirin is rarely used. But it may
be considered as treatment for people at high risk for bronchiolitis or
pneumonia, which can develop as a complication of RSV.
In some children, ribavirin may:
Ribavirin may reduce the spread of
Side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
Ribavirin may make RSV infection and
complications more severe.
It's unknown if this medicine has long-term effects on a person or on
the person's subsequent children.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. If your child takes medicine as your doctor suggests, it will improve your child's health and may prevent future problems. If your child doesn't take the medicines properly, his or her health (and perhaps life) may be at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, avoid close contact with a child who is getting ribavirin. If you are planning to get pregnant soon and want to be around your child during this treatment, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy until the treatment is complete. It's not known if a fetus may develop birth defects if exposed to this medicine.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
June 25, 2012
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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