Ribavirin drug is a combatant vaccine mainly fabricated to abate, treat and prevent hepatitis C and several haemorrhagic fevers known to inflict destroying effect on hosts. This antiviral drug is the only drug available and administered to treat various haemorrhagic fevers. Without the effort of the founders of this life saving drug, several individuals infected with any of these deadly viral infections would have been long forgotten in the grave. Many on sick bed battling with the deteriorating action of the viruses would only hope and wish for a miracle to happen someday. The humanity owes these highly esteemed individuals a great honour and sincere appreciation for propounding a viable drug as ribavirin. Ribavirin will not cure but will lessen the activity of the viruses in the body and improve the health condition of the infected individuals. The ribavirin breaks the RNA chain thereby inhibiting the virus from replicating and multiplying. Several haemorrhagic fevers treated and prevented by ribavirin are Venezuelan fever, hantavirus, popular Lassa fever and Crimean Congo fever. This life saving drug can be used in conjunction with other antiviral agents to combat other deadly virus infections. For example, ribavirin can be combined with ketamine, symmetrel and dormice to treat rabies.
History of Ribavirin
Ribavirin was first discovered about 44 years by Joseph T Witkovski alongside Ronald K. Robins and propounded as guanosine analogy for interrupting the replication of RNA making it a nucleoside inhibitor. The drug has been approved a long time now by the U.S Food and Drug Administration and recorded on the list of essential medicines. Herpes simplex virus will not also be spared from the hampering action of ribavirin as it has been used to treat herpes virus infections in the past. A discovery showed that ribavirin therapy treatment administered for Herpes infections gave better result compared to placebo therapy treatment administration.
Chemical Structure and Properties of Ribavirin
The chemical structure of ribavirin comprises of a chain connection of essential chemical elements such as carbon, hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen. Molecular formula of ribavirin is represented by C8H18N4O5 and it is characterised by hydrogen and covalent bonds. Ribavirin is also known to have a chemical name called Rebetol and it is denoted with molecular weight value of 244.207g/mol. It possesses hydrogen bond donor and acceptor counts of ratio 4:7, monoisotopic mass valued at 244.081g/mol. The drug is colourless, odourless and tasteless. Its melting point value is 166-168oC and water solubility value is 142mg/ml. It interrupts RNA production when converted to purine RNA nucleotides. Although many mechanisms have been proposed on how ribavirin attacks viruses, none has been approved
Possible Side Effects
Known side effects associated with the usage of ribavirin are anemia, reduction in haemoglobin, insomnia, nervousness and haemolytic. Other adverse effects recorded are diarrhea, feverish feeling, pains, Nausea feeling and restlessness. It is advised to seek medical attention on the usage of ribavirin. Once you start noticing any of the side effects, instantly visit a physician for medical counsel. Some of the side effects may not necessarily require medical attention.
Ribavirin can be used in conjunction with peginterferon alfa-2a to treat hepatitis C genotypes 1 and 4 in infected persons less than 75kg. 1000mg per day is recommended for 48weeks and can be taken in two doses. 800mg per day is ideal for hepatitis C genotypes 2 and 3 for 24 weeks. To treat individuals also infected with HIV, 800mg for 48 weeks is recommended. 15mg/kg per day can be administered to children within the age bracket 3 years or older and should be combined with peginterferon alfa-2b.
Warning and Precautions
Ribavirin should not be used alone when treating chronic hepatitis. A reduced dosage should be administered to patients with renal impairment. It is expedient to follow the doctor’s prescription so as to see the desire results.