1 What is Virazole?

Brand: Virazole

Generic: Ribavirin

Virazole is a prescription-only antiviral agent approved for use in kids who have severe pneumonia caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

Through the mouthpiece of a special kind of device (nebulizer or sprayer), a fine mist of this medicine is breathed into the lungs (oral inhalation).

The nebulizer is connected to other devices such as an oxygen hood, oxygen tent, or face mask. It is available as Powder for Solution form.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Virazole, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Together with your doctor, you can decide whether the medication will do you more goods than the harms.

Here are some factors to be considered before deciding to use this medicine:

Allergies: Inform your doctor about the allergies you have, such as to this medication, other medications, or to foods, dyes, or preservatives.

Pediatric: With no known adverse effects in children, pediatric use of this medicine is generally considered to be safe.

Geriatric: Using this medicine in adults and elderly is not generally recommended.

Pregnancy: It falls under pregnancy category X for all trimesters meaning that this drug is not recommended to be used during or near a pregnancy.

Breastfeeding: Use only after assessing the risks and benefits.

Drug Interactions: Taking two medicines together can be harmful due to possible interactions. In other cases, even if there is a possible interaction between two medicines your doctor may advise you to take them together after adjusting the dose or issuing precautions.

Ribavirin is not recommended to be used with Didanosine.

Though usually not recommended, your doctor may decide, after adjusting dose or frequency of one or both medicines, to use this medicine with:

  • Abacavir
  • Azathioprine
  • Mercaptopurine
  • Stavudine
  • Zalcitabine
  • Zidovudine

Rarely and only when absolutely needed, this medicine may be used with the following medicines even if using them together may put you at risk of certain side effects.

In such cases, you may have to take the adjusted dose or change the frequency of intake.

  • Interferon Alfa-2b

Other Interactions: Taking your medicine together with certain foods or items such as alcohol or tobacco may cause undesirable interactions. Talk to your doctor to know if using this medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco is safe.

Inform your doctor if you have any other medical condition, including:

  • Anemia
  • Heart or lung problems

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Virazole requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. Only a nurse or a trained health personnel is allowed to administer this medicine to your child in a hospital setting.

Complete the full course of this medicine even your child’s symptoms improve after few doses. For this medicine to show its optimum effect, a constant drug level in the lungs must be maintained. Therefore, ask your child to follow a regular intake schedule.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Virazole, there are some precautions you must take. Your child’s progress should be closely monitored to determine if s/he is responding to the treatment or has some undesirable effects.

If a pregnant woman comes in contact with your child who is taking this medicine, the baby in the womb may be harmed. Therefore, any such exposure should be immediately reported to the doctor.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Virazole.

Consult your doctor immediately if you have any of the following side effects:

Incidence not known: 

  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Absence of breathing
  • Bleeding from nose or gums
  • Bluish fingernails, lips, skin, palms, or nail beds
  • Blurry vision
  • Breathing difficulties such as shallow breathing, wheezing, or decreased respiration rate
  • Breathing problems occurring suddenly
  • Chest discomfort
  • Confusion
  • A cough with a pink sputum
  • Decreased appetite
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excessive tiredness or weakness
  • Feeling dizzy or fainting when changing position
  • Fever or chills
  • Generalized body swelling
  • Headache
  • Light skin
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Low blood pressure or pulse
  • Movement problems
  • Pain in back, leg, chest, or stomach
  • Pale urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • No heartbeat
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Yellowish eyes or skin

Non-serious side effects usually go away on their own without requiring medical intervention. You may also ask your doctor to learn more about how you may prevent or reduce the side effects.

Talk to your doctor if the side effects persist or worry you, including:

Incidence not known: 

  • Burning, dry, or itchy eyes
  • Excessive tear production
  • Rash
  • Redness, painful, swollen eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid

The side effects of the medicine are not limited to the ones listed above. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any side effects that are uncommon or worry you. To report side effects to the FDA, contact at 1-800-FDA-1088.