Role of ribavirin in HCV treatment response: Now and in the future

Mamta K. Jain, Cindy Zoellner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Importance of the field: Ribavirin is a broad spectrum antiviral agent that is used with pegylated IFN (Peg-IFN) for HCV treatment. Ribavirin does not significantly reduce HCV viral load when used alone but increases rates of sustained virologic response (SVR) when combined with Peg-IFN. HCV genotype 1 infected patients require higher doses of ribavirin administered for a longer duration of time versus HCV genotypes 2 and 3 patients who respond effectively to Peg-IFN with lower doses of ribavirin and shorter duration of therapy. Higher serum concentrations of ribavirin are associated with higher response rates but also higher rates of hemolytic anemia which is a dose limiting side effect. Alternatives to current therapy are under clinical evaluation. Areas covered in this review: Systematic literature review of ribavirin use in HCV patients from 1995 to 2009 was conducted. What the reader will gain: To review the efficacy and safety of ribavirin in current HCV treatment and in new therapies in Phase III clinical trials. Take home message: Ribavirin is a drug which is essential to produce higher SVR rates both with Peg-IFN and HCV protease inhibitors currently in Phase III clinical trials. Thus, ribavirin is and will remain an important drug to achieving higher SVR rates in HCV infected persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-683
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Hepatitis C
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Safety
  • Treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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