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Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet].

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Ribavirin

Last Revision: December 3, 2018.

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

CASRN: 36791-04-5

Chemical structure

Drug Levels and Effects

Summary of Use during Lactation

Ribavirin has not been studied in nursing mothers being treated for hepatitis C infection. However, ribavirin is given directly to infants by inhalation to treat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. The amount in milk is likely to be lower than the doses received by infants treated with ribavirin for RSV infection.

Hepatitis C is not transmitted through breastmilk[1][2] and breastmilk has been shown to inactivate hepatitis C virus (HCV).[3][4] However, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that mothers with HCV infection should consider abstaining from breastfeeding if their nipples are cracked or bleeding. It is not clear if this warning would apply to mothers who are being treated for hepatitis C.

Infants born to mothers with HCV infection should be tested for HCV infection; because maternal antibody is present for the first 18 months of life and before the infant mounts an immunologic response, nucleic acid testing is recommended.[1][2]

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Alternate Drugs to Consider

(Hepatitis C) Interferon Alfa, Interferon Alfacon-1

References

1.
Cottrell EB, Chou R, Wasson N et al. Reducing risk for mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis C virus: A systematic review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158:109-13. [PubMed: 23437438]
2.
Workowski KA, Bolan GA. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2015;64:1-137. [PMC free article: PMC5885289] [PubMed: 26042815]
3.
Pfaender S, Heyden J, Friesland M et al. Inactivation of hepatitis C virus infectivity by human breast milk. J Infect Dis. 2013;208:1943-52. [PubMed: 24068703]
4.
Tovo PA, Calitri C, Scolfaro C et al. Vertically acquired hepatitis C virus infection: Correlates of transmission and disease progression. World J Gastroenterol. 2016;22:1382-92. [PMC free article: PMC4721973] [PubMed: 26819507]

Substance Identification

Substance Name

Ribavirin

CAS Registry Number

36791-04-5

Drug Class

Disclaimer: Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

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