Copegus is an antiviral medication often prescribed in combination with other drugs to treat chronic hepatitis C.
Copegus is a brand name for Ribavirin, an antiviral proven to be effective in treatment regimens for hepatitis C infections.
Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus that causes liver disease in patients who are infected. There are two types of the hepatitis C virus: acute and chronic. Antivirals like Ribavirin treat the chronic type of hepatitis C infections.
Chronic hepatitis C is a severe condition that can last throughout an infected individual’s life. Hepatitis C can increase an infected individual’s chance of developing liver cancer or liver cirrhosis. Left untreated, the infection can cause death. The United Nations estimates that close to half a million people die every year due to hepatitis C related complications.
Ribavirin is used in the classic treatment regimen for Hepatitis C. The antiviral is combined with other drugs and administered over a 48-week period. This combined treatment can cure close to half of those who receive it.
However, due to the dangerous side effects this treatment method can cause, current treatment regimens for hepatitis C uses direct antiviral agents instead.
Ribavirin’s exact mechanism of action is unknown, but it is believed to disrupt RNA synthesis in viral cells. Ribavirin may also be used to treat other chronic virus infections such as HIV and other forms of hepatitis.
Copegus Ribavirin is available as tablets in 200 mg doses.
The dosage of Ribavirin depends on the brand. The daily recommended dose for Copegus is 800 mg, which should be taken in two doses.
Copegus dosage will vary from person to person depending on weight. Copegus is prescribed 1,000 mg per day for patients weighing under 75 kg, and 1,200 mg per day for patients weighing more than that. Exact dosages per patient are prescribed by physicians.
Copegus tablets should be swallowed with food. Patients are strongly recommended to follow instructions exactly as prescribed by a doctor. Detailed information regarding taking Copegus can be found in the patient information leaflet provided with the packaging.
Copegus may cause one or more of the following side effects:
Weight loss or gain
Changes to hearing
Side effects other than the ones mentioned above may occur.
If side effects do not go away in 7 days or gets worse, immediately seek medical assistance.
Do not take Copegus if allergic to any of the ingredients in the drug.
Copegus by itself is not effective in treating hepatitis C. Copegus is only effective in combined therapies.
Copegus should not be taken by patients with anemia or unstable cardiac disease.
Patients with blood disorders such as thalassemia and low levels of hemoglobin, high blood pressure, breathing problems, diabetes, pancreatitis and liver problems like autoimmune hepatitis may have their conditions worsened by Copegus.
Copegus is not safe for pregnant women. Therefore, consult your physician if you are planning to take this drug during the period of pregnancy.