REBETOL® (ribavirin, USP) Capsules and Oral Solution

rebetol (Ribavirincapsule 
rebetol (Ribavirinsolution 
[Schering Corporation]

PRODUCT INFORMATION

DESCRIPTION

REBETOL®

REBETOL is Schering Corporation's brand name for ribavirin, a nucleoside analog. The chemical name of ribavirin is 1-β-D-ribofuranosyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide and has the following structural formula:

Chemical Structure

Ribavirin is a white, crystalline powder. It is freely soluble in water and slightly soluble in anhydrous alcohol. The empirical formula is C8H12N4O5 and the molecular weight is 244.21.

REBETOL Capsules consist of a white powder in a white, opaque, gelatin capsule. Each capsule contains 200 mg ribavirin and the inactive ingredients microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, croscarmellose sodium, and magnesium stearate. The capsule shell consists of gelatin, sodium lauryl sulfate, silicon dioxide, and titanium dioxide. The capsule is printed with edible blue pharmaceutical ink which is made of shellac, anhydrous ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, n-butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, ammonium hydroxide, and FD&C Blue #2 aluminum lake.

REBETOL Oral Solution is a clear, colorless to pale or light yellow bubble gum-flavored liquid. Each milliliter of the solution contains 40 mg of ribavirin and the inactive ingredients sucrose, glycerin, sorbitol, propylene glycol, sodium citrate, citric acid, sodium benzoate, natural and artificial flavor for bubble gum #15864, and water.

Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of inhibition of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA by combination therapy with ribavirin and interferon products has not been established.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Pharmacokinetics

Ribavirin

Single- and multiple-dose pharmacokinetic properties in adults are summarized in TABLE 1. Ribavirin was rapidly and extensively absorbed following oral administration. However, due to first-pass metabolism, the absolute bioavailability averaged 64% (44%). There was a linear relationship between dose and AUCtf (AUC from time zero to last measurable concentration) following single doses of 200–1200 mg ribavirin. The relationship between dose and Cmax was curvilinear, tending to asymptote above single doses of 400–600 mg.

Upon multiple oral dosing, based on AUC12hr, a sixfold accumulation of ribavirin was observed in plasma. Following oral dosing with 600 mg BID, steady-state was reached by approximately 4 weeks, with mean steady-state plasma concentrations of 2200 (37%) ng/mL. Upon discontinuation of dosing, the mean half-life was 298 (30%) hours, which probably reflects slow elimination from nonplasma compartments.

Effect of Food on Absorption of Ribavirin

Both AUCtf and Cmax increased by 70% when REBETOL® Capsules were administered with a high-fat meal (841 kcal, 53.8 g fat, 31.6 g protein, and 57.4 g carbohydrate) in a single-dose pharmacokinetic study. There are insufficient data to address the clinical relevance of these results. Clinical efficacy studies with REBETOL/INTRON® A were conducted without instructions with respect to food consumption. During clinical studies with REBETOL/PegIntron™, all subjects were instructed to take REBETOL Capsules with food (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Effect of Antacid on Absorption of Ribavirin

Coadministration of REBETOL Capsules with an antacid containing magnesium, aluminum, and simethicone (Mylanta®1) resulted in a 14% decrease in mean ribavirin AUCtf. The clinical relevance of results from this single-dose study is unknown.

TABLE 1. Mean (% CV) Pharmacokinetic Parameters for REBETOL When Administered Individually to Adults
ParameterREBETOL  
  Single Dose
600 mg Oral Solution
(N=14)
Single Dose
600 mg Capsules
(N=12)
Multiple Dose
600 mg BID Capsules
(N=12)
*
N = 11
ng/mL
ng.hr/mL
§
data obtained from a single-dose pharmacokinetic study using 14C labeled ribavirin; N = 5
N = 6
T max (hr)1.00(34)1.7 (46)*3 (60)
Cmax872 (42)782 (37)3680 (85)
AUCtf14098 (38)13400 (48)228000 (25)
T1/2 (hr)  43.6 (47)298 (30)
Apparent Volume of Distribution (L)  2825 (9)§  
Apparent Clearance (L/hr)  38.2 (40)  
Absolute Bioavailability  64% (44)  

Ribavirin transport into nonplasma compartments has been most extensively studied in red blood cells, and has been identified to be primarily via an es-type equilibrative nucleoside transporter. This type of transporter is present on virtually all cell types and may account for the extensive volume of distribution. Ribavirin does not bind to plasma proteins.

Ribavirin has two pathways of metabolism: (i) a reversible phosphorylation pathway in nucleated cells; and (ii) a degradative pathway involving deribosylation and amide hydrolysis to yield a triazole carboxylic acid metabolite. Ribavirin and its triazole carboxamide and triazole carboxylic acid metabolites are excreted renally. After oral administration of 600 mg of 14C-ribavirin, approximately 61% and 12% of the radioactivity was eliminated in the urine and feces, respectively, in 336 hours. Unchanged ribavirin accounted for 17% of the administered dose.

Results of in vitro studies using both human and rat liver microsome preparations indicated little or no cytochrome P450 enzyme-mediated metabolism of ribavirin, with minimal potential for P450 enzyme-based drug interactions.

No pharmacokinetic interactions were noted between INTRON A for Injection and REBETOL Capsules in a multiple-dose pharmacokinetic study.


1
Trademark of Johnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co.

Drug Interactions

Ribavirin has been shown in vitro to inhibit phosphorylation of zidovudine and stavudine which could lead to decreased antiretroviral activity. Exposure to didanosine or its active metabolite (dideoxyadenosine 5'-triphosphate) is increased when didanosine is co-administered with ribavirin, which could cause or worsen clinical toxicities (see PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions section).

Special Populations

Renal Dysfunction

The pharmacokinetics of ribavirin were assessed after administration of a single oral dose (400 mg) of ribavirin to non HCV-infected subjects with varying degrees of renal dysfunction. The mean AUCtf value was threefold greater in subjects with creatinine clearance values between 10 to 30 mL/min when compared to control subjects (creatinine clearance >90 mL/min). In subjects with creatinine clearance values between 30 to 60 mL/min, AUCtf was twofold greater when compared to control subjects. The increased AUCtf appears to be due to reduction of renal and non-renal clearance in these patients. Phase III efficacy trials included subjects with creatinine clearance values >50 mL/min. The multiple-dose pharmacokinetics of ribavirin cannot be accurately predicted in patients with renal dysfunction. Ribavirin is not effectively removed by hemodialysis. Patients with creatinine clearance <50 mL/min should not be treated with REBETOL (see WARNINGS).

Hepatic Dysfunction

The effect of hepatic dysfunction was assessed after a single oral dose of ribavirin (600 mg). The mean AUCtf values were not significantly different in subjects with mild, moderate, or severe hepatic dysfunction (Child-Pugh Classification A, B, or C) when compared to control subjects. However, the mean Cmax values increased with severity of hepatic dysfunction and was twofold greater in subjects with severe hepatic dysfunction when compared to control subjects.

Elderly Patients

Pharmacokinetic evaluations in elderly subjects have not been performed.

Gender

There were no clinically significant pharmacokinetic differences noted in a single-dose study of eighteen male and eighteen female subjects.

Pediatric Patients

Multiple-dose pharmacokinetic properties for REBETOL Capsules and INTRON A in pediatric patients with chronic hepatitis C between 5 and 16 years of age are summarized in TABLE 2. The pharmacokinetics of REBETOL and INTRON A (dose-normalized) are similar in adults and pediatric patients.

Complete pharmacokinetic characteristics of REBETOL Oral Solution have not been determined in pediatric patients. Ribavirin Cmin values were similar following administration of REBETOL Oral Solution or REBETOL Capsules during 48 weeks of therapy in pediatric patients (3 to 16 years of age).

TABLE 2. Mean (% CV) Multiple-Dose Pharmacokinetic Parameters for INTRON A and REBETOL Capsules When Administered to Pediatric Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C
ParameterREBETOL
15mg/ kg/ day as 2 divided doses
(N=17)
INTRON A
3MIU/m2
TIW
(N=54)
*
AUC12 (ng.hr/mL) for REBETOL; AUC0–24 (IU.hr/mL) for INTRON A
ND=not done
Tmax (hr)1.9 (83)5.9 (36)
Cmax (ng/mL)3275 (25)51(48)
AUC*29774 (26)622 (48)
Apparent clearance L/hr/kg0.27 (27)ND

* In this section of the label, numbers in parenthesis indicate % coefficient of variation.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Adult Use

REBETOL® (ribavirin, USP) Capsules and Oral Solution are indicated in combination with INTRON® A (interferon alfa-2b, recombinant) for Injection for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients 18 years of age and older with compensated liver disease previously untreated with alpha interferon and in patients 18 years of age and older who have relapsed following alpha interferon therapy.

REBETOL Capsules are indicated in combination with PegIntron™ (peginterferon alfa-2b) Powder for Injection for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients with compensated liver disease who have not been previously treated with interferon alpha and are at least 18 years of age.

The safety and efficacy of REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution with interferons other than INTRON A or PegIntron products have not been established.

Pediatric Use

REBETOL (ribavirin, USP) Capsules are indicated in combination with INTRON A for Injection for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients 5 years of age and older with compensated liver disease previously untreated with alpha interferon and in patients who have relapsed following alpha interferon therapy.

REBETOL (ribavirin, USP) Oral Solution is indicated in combination with INTRON A for Injection for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients 3 years of age and older with compensated liver disease previously untreated with alpha interferon and in patients who have relapsed following alpha interferon therapy.

Evidence of disease progression, such as hepatic inflammation and fibrosis, as well as prognostic factors for response, HCV genotype and viral load, should be considered when deciding to treat a pediatric patient. The benefits of treatment should be weighed against the safety findings observed (see PRECAUTIONS, Pediatric Use section) for pediatric subjects in the clinical trials.

Description of Clinical Studies

REBETOL/INTRON A Combination Therapy

Adult Patients

Previously Untreated Patients

Adults with compensated chronic hepatitis C and detectable HCV RNA (assessed by a central laboratory using a research-based RT-PCR assay) who were previously untreated with alpha interferon therapy were enrolled into two multicenter, double-blind trials (US and International) and randomized to receive REBETOL Capsules 1200 mg/day (1000 mg/day for patients weighing ≤75 kg) plus INTRON A for Injection 3 MIU TIW or INTRON A for Injection plus placebo for 24 or 48 weeks followed by 24 weeks of off-therapy follow-up. The International study did not contain a 24-week INTRON A plus placebo treatment arm. The US study enrolled 912 patients who, at baseline, were 67% male, 89% Caucasian with a mean Knodell HAI score (I+II+III) of 7.5, and 72% genotype 1. The International study, conducted in Europe, Israel, Canada, and Australia, enrolled 799 patients (65% male, 95% Caucasian, mean Knodell score 6.8, and 58% genotype 1).

Study results are summarized in TABLE 3.

TABLE 3. Virologic and Histologic Responses: Previously Untreated Patients*
  US StudyInternational Study
  24 weeks of treatment48 weeks of treatment24 weeks of
treatment
48 weeks of treatment
  INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=228)
INTRON
A plus
Placebo
(N=231)
INTRON
A plus
REBETOL
(N=228)
INTRON
A plus
Placebo
(N=225)
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=265)
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=268)
INTRON
A plus
Placebo
(N=266)
*
Number (%) of patients.
Defined as HCV RNA below limit of detection using a research-based RT-PCR assay at end of treatment and during follow-up period.
Defined as posttreatment (end of follow-up) minus pretreatment liver biopsy Knodell HAI score (I+II+III) improvement of ≥2 points.
Virologic
Response
              
-Responder65 (29)13 (6)85 (37)27 (12)86 (32)113 (42)46 (17)
-Nonresponder147 (64)194 (84)110 (48)168 (75)158 (60)120 (45)196 (74)
-Missing Data16 (7)24 (10)33 (14)30 (13)21 (8)35 (13)24 (9)
Histologic
Response
              
-Improvement102 (45)77 (33)96 (42)65 (29)103 (39)102 (38)69 (26)
-No improvement77 (34)99 (43)61 (27)93 (41)85 (32)58 (22)111 (41)
-Missing Data49 (21)55 (24)71 (31)67 (30)77 (29)108 (40)86 (32)

Of patients who had not achieved HCV RNA below the limit of detection of the research-based assay by week 24 of REBETOL/INTRON A treatment, less than 5% responded to an additional 24 weeks of combination treatment.

Among patients with HCV Genotype 1 treated with REBETOL/INTRON A therapy who achieved HCV RNA below the detection limit of the research-based assay by 24 weeks, those randomized to 48 weeks of treatment had higher virologic responses compared to those in the 24-week treatment group. There was no observed increase in response rates for patients with HCV nongenotype 1 randomized to REBETOL/INTRON A therapy for 48 weeks compared to 24 weeks.

Relapse Patients

Patients with compensated chronic hepatitis C and detectable HCV RNA (assessed by a central laboratory using a research-based RT-PCR assay) who had relapsed following one or two courses of interferon therapy (defined as abnormal serum ALT levels) were enrolled into two multicenter, double-blind trials (US and International) and randomized to receive REBETOL 1200 mg/day (1000 mg/day for patients weighing ≤75 kg) plus INTRON A 3 MIU TIW or INTRON A plus placebo for 24 weeks followed by 24 weeks of off-therapy follow-up. The US study enrolled 153 patients who, at baseline, were 67% male, 92% Caucasian with a mean Knodell HAI score (I+II+III) of 6.8, and 58% genotype 1. The International study, conducted in Europe, Israel, Canada, and Australia, enrolled 192 patients (64% male, 95% Caucasian, mean Knodell score 6.6, and 56% genotype 1).

Study results are summarized in TABLE 4.

TABLE 4. Virologic and Histologic Responses: Relapse Patients*
  US StudyInternational Study
  INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
N=77
INTRON A
plus
Placebo
N=76
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
N=96
INTRON A
plus
Placebo
N=96
*
Number (%) of Patients.
Defined as HCV RNA below limit of detection using a research-based RT-PCR assay at end of treatment and during follow-up period.
Defined as posttreatment (end of follow-up) minus pretreatment liver biopsy Knodell HAI score (I+II+III) improvement of ≥2 points.
Virologic Response        
-Responder33 (43)3 (4)46 (48)5 (5)
-Nonresponder36 (47)66 (87)45 (47)91 (95)
-Missing Data8 (10)7 (9)5 (5)0 (0)
Histologic Response        
-Improvement38 (49)27 (36)49 (51)30 (31)
-No improvement23 (30)37 (49)29 (30)44 (46)
-Missing Data16 (21)12 (16)18 (19)22 (23)

Virologic and histologic responses were similar among male and female patients in both the previously untreated and relapse studies.

Pediatric Patients

Pediatric patients 3 to 16 years of age with compensated chronic hepatitis C and detectable HCV RNA (assessed by a central laboratory using a research-based RT-PCR assay) were treated with REBETOL 15 mg/kg per day plus INTRON A 3 MIU/m2 TIW for 48 weeks followed by 24 weeks of off-therapy follow-up. A total of 118 patients received treatment who were 57% male, 80% Caucasian, and 78% genotype 1. Patients <5 years of age received REBETOL Oral Solution and those ≥5 years of age received either REBETOL Oral Solution or Capsules.

Study results are summarized in TABLE 5.

TABLE 5. Virologic Response: Previously Untreated Pediatric Patients*
  INTRON A 3 MIU/m2 TIW
Plus
REBETOL 15 mg/kg/day
*
Number (%) of patients
Defined as HCV RNA below limit of detection using a research-based RT-PCR assay at end of treatment and during follow-up period.
Overall Response (N=118)54 (46)
Genotype 1 (N=92)33 (36)
Genotype non-1 (N=26)21 (81)

Patients with viral genotype 1, regardless of viral load, had a lower response rate to INTRON A/REBETOL combination therapy compared to patients with genotype non-1, 36% versus 81%. Patients with both poor prognostic factors (genotype 1 and high viral load) had a response rate of 26% (13/50).

REBETOL/PegIntron Combination Therapy

A randomized study compared treatment with two PegIntron/REBETOL regimens [PegIntron 1.5 µg/kg SC once weekly (QW)/REBETOL 800 mg PO daily (in divided doses); PegIntron 1.5 µg/kg SC QW for 4 weeks then 0.5 µg/kg SC QW for 44 weeks/REBETOL 1000/1200 mg PO daily (in divided doses)] with INTRON A [3 MIU SC thrice weekly (TIW)/REBETOL 1000/1200 mg PO daily (in divided doses)] in 1530 adults with chronic hepatitis C. Interferon-naïve patients were treated for 48 weeks and followed for 24 weeks post-treatment. Eligible patients had compensated liver disease, detectable HCV RNA, elevated ALT, and liver histopathology consistent with chronic hepatitis.

Response to treatment was defined as undetectable HCV RNA at 24 weeks posttreatment (see TABLE 6).

TABLE 6. Rates of Response to Combination Treatment
  PegIntron
1.5µg/kg QW
REBETOL 800 mg QD
INTRON A 3 MIU TIW
REBETOL 1000/1200mg
QD
*
Serum HCV RNA was measured with a research-based quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay by a central laboratory.
Difference in overall treatment response (PegIntron/REBETOL vs. INTRON A/REBETOL) is 6% with 95% confidence interval of (0.18, 11.63) adjusted for viral genotype and presence of cirrhosis at baseline.
Overall response*,52% (264/511)46% (231/505)
Genotype 141% (141/348)33% (112/343)
Genotype 2–675%(123/163)73% (119/162)

The response rate to PegIntron 1.5→0.5µg/kg/REBETOL was essentially the same as the response to INTRON A/REBETOL (data not shown).

Patients with viral genotype 1, regardless of viral load, had a lower response rate to PegIntron (1.5 µg/kg)/REBETOL combination therapy compared to patients with other viral genotypes. Patients with both poor prognostic factors (genotype 1 and high viral load) had a response rate of 30% (78/256) compared to a response rate of 29% (71/247) with INTRON A/REBETOL combination therapy.

Patients with lower body weight tended to have higher adverse event rates (see ADVERSE REACTIONS) and higher response rates than patients with higher body weights. Differences in response rates between treatment arms did not substantially vary with body weight.

Treatment response rates with PegIntron/REBETOL combination therapy were 49% in men and 56% in women. Response rates were lower in African American and Hispanic patients and higher in Asians compared to Caucasians. Although African Americans had a higher proportion of poor prognostic factors compared to Caucasians the number of non-Caucasians studied (11% of the total) was insufficient to allow meaningful conclusions about differences in response rates after adjusting for prognostic factors.

Liver biopsies were obtained before and after treatment in 68% of patients. Compared to baseline approximately 2/3 of patients in all treatment groups were observed to have a modest reduction in inflammation.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Pregnancy

REBETOL® Capsules and Oral Solution may cause birth defects and/or death of the exposed fetus. REBETOL therapy is contraindicated for use in women who are pregnant or in men whose female partners are pregnant (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS, Information for Patients and Pregnancy Category X sections).

REBETOL Capsules and Oral Solution are contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to ribavirin or any component of the capsule.

Patients with autoimmune hepatitis must not be treated with combination REBETOL/INTRON A therapy because using these medicines can make the hepatitis worse.

Patients with hemoglobinopathies (e.g., thalassemia major, sickle-cell anemia) should not be treated with REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution.

WARNINGS

Based on results of clinical trials ribavirin monotherapy is not effective for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection; therefore, REBETOL® Capsules or Oral Solution must not be used alone. The safety and efficacy of REBETOL Capsules and Oral Solution have only been established when used together with INTRON® A as a combination therapy or with PegIntron™ Injection.

There are significant adverse events caused by REBETOL/INTRON A or PegIntron therapy, including severe depression and suicidal ideation, hemolytic anemia, suppression of bone marrow function, autoimmune and infectious disorders, pulmonary dysfunction, pancreatitis, and diabetes. Suicidal ideation or attempts occurred more frequently among pediatric patients, primarily adolescents, compared to adult patients (2.4% versus 1%) during treatment and off-therapy follow-up. The INTRON A and PegIntron package inserts should be reviewed in their entirety prior to initiation of combination treatment for additional safety information.

Pregnancy

REBETOL Capsules and Oral Solution may cause birth defects and/or death of the exposed fetus. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy in female patients and in female partners of male patients. REBETOL has demonstrated significant teratogenic and/or embryocidal effects in all animal species in which adequate studies have been conducted. These effects occurred at doses as low as one twentieth of the recommended human dose of ribavirin. REBETOL THERAPY SHOULD NOT BE STARTED UNTIL A REPORT OF A NEGATIVE PREGNANCY TEST HAS BEEN OBTAINED IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO PLANNED INITIATION OF THERAPY. Patients should be instructed to use at least two forms of effective contraception during treatment and during the six month period after treatment has been stopped based on multiple dose half-life of ribavirin of 12 days. Pregnancy testing should occur monthly during REBETOL therapy and for six months after therapy has stopped (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and PRECAUTIONS, Information for Patients and Pregnancy Category X sections).

Anemia

The primary toxicity of ribavirin is hemolytic anemia, which was observed in approximately 10% of REBETOL/INTRON A-treated patients in clinical trials (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Laboratory Values , REBETOL/INTRON A Combination Therapy, Hemoglobin section). The anemia associated with REBETOL capsules occurs within 1 – 2 weeks of initiation of therapy. BECAUSE THE INITIAL DROP IN HEMOGLOBIN MAY BE SIGNIFICANT, IT IS ADVISED THAT HEMOGLOBIN OR HEMATOCRIT BE OBTAINED PRETREATMENT AND AT WEEK 2 AND WEEK 4 OF THERAPY, OR MORE FREQUENTLY IF CLINICALLY INDICATED. Patients should then be followed as clinically appropriate.

Fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarctions have been reported in patients with anemia caused by REBETOL. Patients should be assessed for underlying cardiac disease before initiation of ribavirin therapy. Patients with pre-existing cardiac disease should have electrocardiograms administered before treatment, and should be appropriately monitored during therapy. If there is any deterioration of cardiovascular status, therapy should be suspended or discontinued (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Guidelines for Dose Modification section.) Because cardiac disease may be worsened by drug induced anemia, patients with a history of significant or unstable cardiac disease should not use REBETOL (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

REBETOL and INTRON A or PegIntron therapy should be suspended in patients with signs and symptoms of pancreatitis and discontinued in patients with confirmed pancreatitis.

REBETOL should not be used in patients with creatinine clearance <50 mL/min (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Special populations section).

Pulmonary

Pulmonary symptoms, including dyspnea, pulmonary infiltrates, pneumonitis and pneumonia, have been reported during therapy with REBETOL/INTRON A; occasional cases of fatal pneumonia have occurred. In addition, sarcoidosis or the exacerbation of sarcoidosis has been reported. If there is evidence of pulmonary infiltrates or pulmonary function impairment, the patient should be closely monitored, and if appropriate, combination REBETOL/INTRON A treatment should be discontinued.

Dental and periodontal disorders

Dental and periodontal disorders have been reported in patients receiving ribavirin and interferon or peginterferon combination therapy. In addition, dry mouth could have a damaging effect on teeth and mucous membranes of the mouth during long-term treatment with the combination of REBETOL and interferon alfa-2b or pegylated interferon alfa-2b. Patients should brush their teeth thoroughly twice daily and have regular dental examinations. In addition, some patients may experience vomiting. If this reaction occurs, they should be advised to rinse out their mouth thoroughly afterwards.

PRECAUTIONS

The safety and efficacy of REBETOL®/INTRON® A and PegIntron™ therapy for the treatment of HIV infection, adenovirus, RSV, parainfluenza, or influenza infections have not been established. REBETOL Capsules should not be used for these indications. Ribavirin for inhalation has a separate package insert, which should be consulted if ribavirin inhalation therapy is being considered.

The safety and efficacy of REBETOL/INTRON A therapy has not been established in liver or other organ transplant patients, patients with decompensated liver disease due to hepatitis C infection, patients who are non-responders to interferon therapy, or patients coinfected with HBV or HIV.

Information for Patients

Patients must be informed that REBETOL Capsules and Oral Solution may cause birth defects and/or death of the exposed fetus. REBETOL must not be used by women who are pregnant or by men whose female partners are pregnant. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy in female patients and in female partners of male patients taking REBETOL. REBETOL should not be initiated until a report of a negative pregnancy test has been obtained immediately prior to initiation of therapy. Patients must perform a pregnancy test monthly during therapy and for 6 months posttherapy. Women of childbearing potential must be counseled about use of effective contraception (two reliable forms) prior to initiating therapy. Patients (male and female) must be advised of the teratogenic/embryocidal risks and must be instructed to practice effective contraception during REBETOL and for 6 months posttherapy. Patients (male and female) should be advised to notify the physician immediately in the event of a pregnancy (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS).

If pregnancy does occur during treatment or during 6 months posttherapy, the patient must be advised of the teratogenic risk of REBETOL therapy to the fetus. Patients, or partners of patients, should immediately report any pregnancy that occurs during treatment or within 6 months after treatment cessation to their physician. Physicians should report such cases by calling 1-800-593-2214.

Patients receiving REBETOL Capsules should be informed of the benefits and risks associated with treatment, directed in its appropriate use, and referred to the patient MEDICATION GUIDE. Patients should be informed that the effect of treatment of hepatitis C infection on transmission is not known, and that appropriate precautions to prevent transmission of the hepatitis C virus should be taken.

The most common adverse experience occurring with REBETOL Capsules is anemia, which may be severe (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Patients should be advised that laboratory evaluations are required prior to starting therapy and periodically thereafter (see PRECAUTIONS, Laboratory Tests section). It is advised that patients be well hydrated, especially during the initial stages of treatment.

Laboratory Tests

The following laboratory tests are recommended for all patients treated with REBETOL Capsules, prior to beginning treatment and then periodically thereafter.

Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis

Ribavirin did not cause an increase in any tumor type when administered for 6 months in the transgenic p53 deficient mouse model at doses up to 300 mg/kg (estimated human equivalent of 25 mg/kg based on body surface area adjustment for a 60 kg adult; approximately 1.9 times the maximum recommended human daily dose). Ribavirin was non-carcinogenic when administered for 2 years to rats at doses up to 40 mg/kg (estimated human equivalent of 5.71 mg/kg based on body surface area adjustment for a 60 kg adult). However, this dose was less than the maximum tolerated dose, and therefore the study was not adequate to fully characterize the carcinogenic potential of ribavirin.

Ribavirin demonstrated increased incidences of mutation and cell transformation in multiple genotoxicity assays. Ribavirin was active in the Balb/3T3 In Vitro Cell Transformation Assay. Mutagenic activity was observed in the mouse lymphoma assay, and at doses of 20–200 mg/kg (estimated human equivalent of 1.67 – 16.7 mg/kg, based on body surface area adjustment for a 60 kg adult; 0.1 – 1 × the maximum recommended human 24-hour dose of ribavirin) in a mouse micronucleus assay. A dominant lethal assay in rats was negative, indicating that if mutations occurred in rats they were not transmitted through male gametes.

Impairment of Fertility

Ribavirin demonstrated significant embryocidal and/or teratogenic effects at doses well below the recommended human dose in all animal species in which adequate studies have been conducted.

Fertile women and partners of fertile women should not receive REBETOL unless the patient and his/her partner are using effective contraception (two reliable forms). Based on a multiple-dose half-life (t1/2) of ribavirin of 12 days, effective contraception must be utilized for 6 months posttherapy (e.g., 15 half-lives of clearance for ribavirin).

REBETOL should be used with caution in fertile men. In studies in mice to evaluate the time course and reversibility of ribavirin-induced testicular degeneration at doses of 15 to 150 mg/kg/day (estimated human equivalent of 1.25 – 12.5 mg/kg/day, based on body surface area adjustment for a 60 kg adult; 0.1 – 0.8 × the maximum human 24-hour dose of ribavirin) administered for 3 or 6 months, abnormalities in sperm occurred. Upon cessation of treatment, essentially total recovery from ribavirin-induced testicular toxicity was apparent within 1 or 2 spermatogenesis cycles.

Animal Toxicology

Long-term studies in the mouse and rat (18 – 24 months; doses of 20 – 75 and 10 – 40 mg/kg/day, respectively {estimated human equivalent doses of 1.67 – 6.25 and 1.43 – 5.71 mg/kg/day, respectively, based on body surface area adjustment for a 60 kg adult; approximately 0.1 – 0.4 × the maximum human 24-hour dose of ribavirin}) have demonstrated a relationship between chronic ribavirin exposure and increased incidences of vascular lesions (microscopic hemorrhages) in mice. In rats, retinal degeneration occurred in controls, but the incidence was increased in ribavirin-treated rats.

In a study in which rat pups were dosed postnatally with ribavirin at doses of 10, 25 and 50 mg/kg/day, drug-related deaths occurred at 50 mg/kg (at rat pup plasma concentrations below human plasma concentrations at the human therapeutic dose) between study days 13 and 48. Rat pups dosed from postnatal day 7 through 63 demonstrated a minor, dose-related decrease in overall growth at all doses, which was subsequently manifested as slight decreases in body weight, crown-rump length and bone length. These effects showed evidence of reversibility, and no histopathological effects on bone were observed. No ribavirin effects were observed regarding neurobehavioral or reproductive development.

Pregnancy Category X

(see CONTRAINDICATIONS)

Ribavirin produced significant embryocidal and/or teratogenic effects in all animal species in which adequate studies have been conducted. Malformations of the skull, palate, eye, jaw, limbs, skeleton, and gastrointestinal tract were noted. The incidence and severity of teratogenic effects increased with escalation of the drug dose. Survival of fetuses and offspring was reduced. In conventional embryotoxicity/teratogenicity studies in rats and rabbits, observed no effect dose levels were well below those for proposed clinical use (0.3 mg/kg/day for both the rat and rabbit; approximately 0.06 × the recommended human 24-hour dose of ribavirin). No maternal toxicity or effects on offspring were observed in a peri/postnatal toxicity study in rats dosed orally at up to 1 mg/kg/day (estimated human equivalent dose of 0.17 mg/kg based on body surface area adjustment for a 60 kg adult; approximately 0.01 × the maximum recommended human 24-hour dose of ribavirin).

Treatment and Posttreatment: Potential Risk to the Fetus

Ribavirin is known to accumulate in intracellular components from where it is cleared very slowly. It is not known whether ribavirin contained in sperm will exert a potential teratogenic effect upon fertilization of the ova. In a study in rats, it was concluded that dominant lethality was not induced by ribavirin at doses up to 200 mg/kg for 5 days (estimated human equivalent doses of 7.14 – 28.6 mg/kg, based on body surface area adjustment for a 60 kg adult; up to 1.7 × the maximum recommended human dose of ribavirin). However, because of the potential human teratogenic effects of ribavirin, male patients should be advised to take every precaution to avoid risk of pregnancy for their female partners.

Women of childbearing potential should not receive REBETOL unless they are using effective contraception (two reliable forms) during the therapy period. In addition, effective contraception should be utilized for 6 months posttherapy based on a multiple-dose half-life (t1/2) of ribavirin of 12 days.

Male patients and their female partners must practice effective contraception (two reliable forms) during treatment with REBETOL and for the 6-month posttherapy period (e.g., 15 half-lives for ribavirin clearance from the body).

Ribavirin Pregnancy Registry: A Ribavirin Pregnancy Registry has been established to monitor maternal-fetal outcomes of pregnancies in female patients and female partners of male patients exposed to ribavirin during treatment and for six months following cessation of treatment. Physicians and patients are encouraged to report such cases by calling 1-800-593-2214.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether the REBETOL product is excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions from the drug in nursing infants, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to delay or discontinue REBETOL.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of REBETOL/INTRON A or PegIntron therapy did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine if they respond differently from younger subjects.

REBETOL is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients often have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection. Renal function should be monitored and dosage adjustments should be made accordingly. REBETOL should not be used in patients with creatinine clearance <50 mL/min (see WARNINGS).

In general, REBETOL Capsules should be administered to elderly patients cautiously, starting at the lower end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic and/or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. In clinical trials, elderly subjects had a higher frequency of anemia (67%) than did younger patients (28%) (see WARNINGS).

Pediatric Use

Suicidal ideation or attempts occurred more frequently among pediatric patients, primarily adolescents, compared to adult patients (2.4% versus 1%) during treatment and off-therapy follow-up (see WARNINGS). As in adult patients, pediatric patients experienced other psychiatric adverse events (e.g., depression, emotional lability, somnolence), anemia, and neutropenia (see WARNINGS). During a 48-week course of therapy there was a decrease in the rate of linear growth (mean percentile assignment decrease of 9%) and a decrease in the rate of weight gain (mean percentile assignment decrease of 13%). A general reversal of these trends was noted during the 24-week posttreatment period.

Drug Interactions

Didanosine

Co-administration of REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution and didanosine is not recommended. Reports of fatal hepatic failure, as well as peripheral neuropathy, pancreatitis, and symptomatic hyperlactactemia/lactic acidosis have been reported in clinical trials (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Drug Interactions section).

Stavudine and Zidovudine

Ribavirin may antagonize the in vitro antiviral activity of stavudine and zidovudine against HIV. Therefore, concomitant use of ribavirin with either of these drugs should be used with caution (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Drug Interactions section).

ADVERSE REACTIONS

The primary toxicity of ribavirin is hemolytic anemia. Reductions in hemoglobin levels occurred within the first 1–2 weeks of oral therapy (see WARNINGS). Cardiac and pulmonary events associated with anemia occurred in approximately 10% of patients (see WARNINGS).

REBETOL®/INTRON® A Combination Therapy

In clinical trials, 19% and 6% of previously untreated and relapse patients, respectively, discontinued therapy due to adverse events in the combination arms compared to 13% and 3% in the interferon arms. Selected treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred in the US studies with ≥5% incidence are provided in TABLE 7 by treatment group. In general, the selected treatment-emergent adverse events were reported with lower incidence in the international studies as compared to the US studies with the exception of asthenia, influenza-like symptoms, nervousness, and pruritus.

Pediatric Patients

In clinical trials of 118 pediatric patients 3 to 16 years of age, 6% discontinued therapy due to adverse events. Dose modifications were required in 30% of patients, most commonly for anemia and neutropenia. In general, the adverse event profile in the pediatric population was similar to that observed in adults. Injection site disorders, fever, anorexia, vomiting, and emotional lability occurred more frequently in pediatric patients compared to adult patients. Conversely, pediatric patients experienced less fatigue, dyspepsia, arthralgia, insomnia, irritability, impaired concentration, dyspnea, and pruritus compared to adult patients. Selected treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred with ≥5% incidence among all pediatric patients who received the recommended dose of REBETOL/INTRON A combination therapy are provided in TABLE 7.

TABLE 7. Selected Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events: Previously Untreated and Relapse Adult Patients and Previously Untreated Pediatric Patients
Percentage of Patients
  US Previously Untreated StudyUS Relapse StudyPediatric Patients
24 weeks of treatment48 weeks of treatment24 weeks of treatment48 weeks of
treatment
Patients Reporting Adverse
Events*
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=228)
INTRON A
plus
Placebo
(N=231)
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=228)
INTRON A
plus
Placebo
(N=225)
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=77)
INTRON A
plus
Placebo
(N=76)
INTRON A
Plus
REBETOL
(N=118)
*
Patients reporting one or more adverse events. A patient may have reported more than one adverse event within a body system/organ class category.
Application Site Disorders              
  Injection site inflammation131012146814
  Injection site reaction79895319
Body as a Whole - General
Disorders
              
  Headache63636667666869
  Fatigue68627072605358
  Rigors40324239433725
  Fever37354140323661
  Influenza-like symptoms14181820131331
  Asthenia94991045
  Chest pain5498675
Central & Peripheral Nervous
System Disorders
              
  Dizziness17152319262120
Gastrointestinal System
Disorders
              
  Nausea38354633473333
  Anorexia27162519211451
  Dyspepsia146169169<1
  Vomiting111091312842
Musculoskeletal System
Disorders
              
  Myalgia61576463615832
  Arthralgia30273336292915
  Musculoskeletal pain20262832222821
Psychiatric Disorders              
  Insomnia39273930262514
  Irritability23193227252010
  Depression32253637231413
  Emotional lability7611812816
  Concentration impaired1114141410125
  Nervousness4244543
Respiratory System Disorders              
  Dyspnea199181017125
  Sinusitis971014127<1
Skin and Appendages Disorders              
  Alopecia28273228272623
  Rash20928821517
  Pruritus21919813412
Special Senses, Other Disorders              
  Taste perversion748465<1

In addition, the following spontaneous adverse events have been reported during the marketing surveillance of REBETOL/INTRON A therapy: hearing disorder and vertigo.

REBETOL/PegIntron Combination Therapy

Overall, in clinical trials, 14% of patients receiving REBETOL in combination with PegIntron™, discontinued therapy compared with 13% treated with REBETOL in combination with INTRON A. The most common reasons for discontinuation of therapy were related to psychiatric, systemic (e.g., fatigue, headache), or gastrointestinal adverse events. Adverse events that occurred in clinical trial at >5% incidence are provided in TABLE 8 by treatment group. Safety and effectiveness of REBETOL in combination with PegIntron has not been established in pediatric patients.

TABLE 8. Adverse Events Occurring in > 5% of Patients
  Percentage of Patients
Reporting Adverse Events
*
  Percentage of Patients
Reporting Adverse Events
*
Adverse EventsPegIntron
1.5µg/kg/
REBETOL
(N=511)
INTRON A/
REBETOL
(N=505)
Adverse EventsPegIntron
1.5µg/kg/
REBETOL
(N=511)
INTRON A/
REBETOL
(N=505)
*
Patients reporting one or more adverse events. A patient may have reported more than one adverse event within a body system/organ class category.
Application Site    Musculoskeletal    
  Injection site
    Inflammation
2518  Myalgia5650
  Injection Site Reaction5836  Arthralgia3428
Autonomic Nervous Sys.      Musculoskeletal Pain2119
  Mouth Dry128Psychiatric    
  Sweating Increased117  Insomnia4041
  Flushing43  Depression3134
Body as a Whole      Anxiety/Emotional
    Lability/Irritability
4747
  Fatigue/Asthenia6663  Concentration Impaired1721
  Headache6258  Agitation85
  Rigors4841  Nervousness66
  Fever4633Reproductive, Female    
  Weight Decrease2920  Menstrual Disorder76
  RUQ Pain126Resistance Mechanism    
  Chest Pain87  Infection Viral1212
  Malaise46  Infection Fungal61
Central/Peripheral
Nervous System
    Respiratory System    
  Dizziness2117  Dyspnea2624
Endocrine      Coughing2316
  Hypothyroidism54  Pharyngitis1213
Gastrointestinal      Rhinitis86
  Nausea4333  Sinusitis65
  Anorexia3227Skin and Appendages    
  Diarrhea2217  Alopecia3632
  Vomiting1412  Pruritus2928
  Abdominal Pain1313  Rash2423
  Dyspepsia98  Skin Dry2423
  Constipation55Special Senses, Other    
Hematologic Disorders      Taste Perversion94
  Neutropenia2614Vision Disorders    
  Anemia1217  Vision blurred56
  Leukopenia65  Conjunctivitis45
  Thrombocytopenia52      
Liver and Biliary System          
  Hepatomegaly44      

Laboratory Values

REBETOL/INTRON A Combination Therapy

Changes in selected hematologic values (hemoglobin, white blood cells, neutrophils, and platelets) during therapy are described below (see TABLE 9).

Hemoglobin

Hemoglobin decreases among patients receiving REBETOL therapy began at Week 1, with stabilization by Week 4. In previously untreated patients treated for 48 weeks the mean maximum decrease from baseline was 3.1 g/dL in the US study and 2.9 g/dL in the International study. In relapse patients the mean maximum decrease from baseline was 2.8 g/dL in the US study and 2.6 g/dL in the International study. Hemoglobin values returned to pretreatment levels within 4 – 8 weeks of cessation of therapy in most patients.

Bilirubin and Uric Acid

Increases in both bilirubin and uric acid, associated with hemolysis, were noted in clinical trials. Most were moderate biochemical changes and were reversed within 4 weeks after treatment discontinuation. This observation occurs most frequently in patients with a previous diagnosis of Gilbert's syndrome. This has not been associated with hepatic dysfunction or clinical morbidity.

TABLE 9. Selected Hematologic Values During Treatment with REBETOL plus INTRON A: Previously Untreated and Relapse Adult Patients and Previously Untreated Pediatric Patients
Percentage of Patients
  US Previously Untreated StudyUS Relapse StudyPediatric Patients
  24 weeks of treatment48 weeks of treatment24 weeks of treatment48 weeks of treatment
  INTRON
A plus
REBETOL
(N=228)
INTRON A
plus
Placebo
(N=231)
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=228)
INTRON A
plus
Placebo
(N=225)
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=77)
INTRON A
plus
Placebo
(N=76)
INTRON A
Plus
REBETOL
(N=118)
Hemoglobin (g/dL)              
9.5–10.924132121324
8.0–9.45040403
6.5–7.90000.4000
<6.50000000
Leukocytes (×109/L)              
2.0–2.940203823452635
1.5–1.94192538
1.0–1.40.9020000
<1.00000000
Neutrophils (×109/L)              
1.0–1.4930323144423437
0.75–0.9914151411161815
0.5–0.74991478416
<0.5118115583
Platelets (×109/L)              
70–9991111146120.8
50–692323052
30–4900.400.4000
<300.9010.9000
Total Bilirubin
(mg/dL)
              
1.5 –3.0271332132172
3.1–6.00.90.420300
6.1–12.0000.40000
>12.00000000

REBETOL/PegIntron Combination Therapy

Changes in selected hematologic values (hemoglobin, white blood cells, neutrophils, and platelets) during therapy are described below (see TABLE 10).

Hemoglobin

REBETOL induced a decrease in hemoglobin levels in approximately two thirds of patients. Hemoglobin levels decreased to < 11g/dL in about 30% of patients. Severe anemia (<8 g/dL) occurred in <1% of patients. Dose modification was required in 9 and 13% of patients in the PegIntron/REBETOL and INTRON A/REBETOL groups.

Bilirubin and Uric Acid

In the REBETOL/PegIntron combination trial 10–14% of patients developed hyperbilirubinemia and 33–38% developed hyperuricemia in association with hemolysis. Six patients developed mild to moderate gout.

TABLE 10. Selected Hematologic Values During Treatment with REBETOL plus PegIntron
Number (%) of Subjects
  PegIntron
plus
REBETOL
(N=511)
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=505)
  PegIntron
plus
REBETOL
(N=511)
INTRON A
plus
REBETOL
(N=505)
Hemoglobin (g/dL)    Platelets (×109/L)    
9.5–10.9262770–99155
8.0–9.43350–6930.8
6.5–7.90.20.230–490.20.2
<6.500<3000
Leukocytes (×109/L)    Total Bilirubin (mg/dL)    
2.0–2.946411.5 –3.01013
1.5–1.92483.1–6.00.60.2
1.0–1.4516.1–12.000.2
<1.000>12.000
Neutrophils (×109/L)    ALT (SGPT)    
1.0–1.4933372 × Baseline0.60.2
0.75–0.9925132.1–5 × Baseline31
0.5–0.741875.1–10 × Baseline00
<0.542>10 × Baseline00

Postmarketing Experiences

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of REBETOL in combination with INTRON A or PegIntron therapy: hearing disorder, vertigo, aplastic anemia, pure red cell aplasia. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

OVERDOSAGE

There is limited experience with overdosage. Acute ingestion of up to 20 grams of REBETOL® Capsules, INTRON® A ingestion of up to 120 million units, and subcutaneous doses of INTRON A up to 10 times the recommended doses have been reported. Primary effects that have been observed are increased incidence and severity of the adverse events related to the therapeutic use of INTRON A and REBETOL. However, hepatic enzyme abnormalities, renal failure, hemorrhage, and myocardial infarction have been reported with administration of single subcutaneous doses of INTRON A that exceed dosing recommendations.

There is no specific antidote for INTRON A or REBETOL overdose, and hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are not effective for treatment of overdose of either agent.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

(see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Special Populations section and WARNINGS)

REBETOL®/INTRON® A Combination Therapy

Adults

The recommended dose of REBETOL Capsules depends on the patient's body weight. The recommended dose of REBETOL is provided in TABLE 11.

The recommended duration of treatment for patients previously untreated with interferon is 24 to 48 weeks. The duration of treatment should be individualized to the patient depending on baseline disease characteristics, response to therapy, and tolerability of the regimen (see INDICATIONS AND USAGE, Description of Clinical Studies section and ADVERSE REACTIONS). After 24 weeks of treatment virologic response should be assessed. Treatment discontinuation should be considered in any patient who has not achieved an HCV RNA below the limit of detection of the assay by 24 weeks. There are no safety and efficacy data on treatment for longer than 48 weeks in the previously untreated patient population.

In patients who relapse following non-pegylated interferon monotherapy, the recommended duration of treatment is 24 weeks. There are no safety and efficacy data on treatment for longer than 24 weeks in the relapse patient population.

TABLE 11. Recommended Dosing
Body
weight
REBETOL Capsules
≤ 75 kg2 × 200-mg capsules AM,
3 × 200-mg capsules PM
daily p.o.
> 75 kg3 × 200-mg capsules AM,
3 × 200-mg capsules PM
daily p.o.

Pediatrics

The recommended dose of REBETOL is 15 mg/kg per day orally (divided dose AM and PM). For children weighing ≤25 kg or who cannot swallow capsules, REBETOL Oral Solution is supplied in a concentration of 40 mg/mL. For children weighing >25 kg, either the Oral Solution or 200-mg capsule may be administered. Refer to TABLE 12 for dosing recommendations for the 200-mg capsule to achieve the recommended dose.

The recommended duration of treatment is 48 weeks for pediatric patients with genotype 1. After 24 weeks of treatment virologic response should be assessed. Treatment discontinuation should be considered in any patient who has not achieved an HCV RNA below the limit of detection of the assay by this time. The recommended duration of treatment for pediatric patients with genotype 2/3 is 24 weeks. There are no safety and efficacy data on treatment for longer than 48 weeks in pediatrics.

TABLE 12. Pediatric Dosing
Body weightREBETOL CapsulesINTRON A for Injection
25–36 kg1 × 200-mg capsule AM
1 × 200-mg capsule PM
daily p.o.
3 million IU/m2 3 times weekly
s.c.
37–49 kg1 × 200-mg capsule AM
2 × 200-mg capsules PM
daily p.o.
3 million IU/m2 3 times weekly
s.c.
50–61 kg2 × 200-mg capsules AM
2 × 200-mg capsules PM
daily p.o.
3 million IU/m2 3 times weekly
s.c.
>61 kgRefer to adult dosing tableRefer to adult dosing table

REBETOL may be administered without regard to food, but should be administered in a consistent manner with respect to food intake (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

Under no circumstances should REBETOL Capsules be opened, crushed, or broken (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS).

REBETOL/PegIntron Combination Therapy

The recommended dose of REBETOL Capsules is 800 mg/day in 2 divided doses: two capsules (400 mg) in the morning with food and two capsules (400 mg) in the evening with food.

Dose Modifications

(TABLE 13)

If severe adverse reactions or laboratory abnormalities develop during combination REBETOL/INTRON A therapy the dose should be modified, or discontinued if appropriate, until the adverse reactions abate. If intolerance persists after dose adjustment, REBETOL/INTRON A therapy should be discontinued.

REBETOL should not be used in patients with creatinine clearance <50 mL/min. Subjects with impaired renal function and/or those over the age of 50 should be carefully monitored with respect to development of anemia (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Special Populations section and WARNINGS).

REBETOL should be administered with caution to patients with pre-existing cardiac disease. Patients should be assessed before commencement of therapy and should be appropriately monitored during therapy. If there is any deterioration of cardiovascular status, therapy should be stopped (see WARNINGS).

For patients with a history of stable cardiovascular disease, a permanent dose reduction is required if the hemoglobin decreases by ≥2 g/dL during any 4-week period. In addition, for these cardiac history patients, if the hemoglobin remains <12 g/dL after 4 weeks on a reduced dose, the patient should discontinue combination REBETOL/INTRON A therapy.

It is recommended that a patient whose hemoglobin level falls below 10 g/dL have his/her REBETOL dose reduced to 600 mg daily (1 × 200-mg capsule AM, 2 × 200 mg capsules PM) for adults and 7.5 mg/kg per day (divided dose AM and PM) for pediatric patients. A patient whose hemoglobin level falls below 8.5 g/dL should be permanently discontinued from REBETOL therapy (see WARNINGS).

TABLE 13. Guidelines for Dose Modifications and Discontinuation for Anemia
  Dose Reduction
REBETOL –
600 mg daily adults
7.5 mg/kg daily for pediatrics
Permanent Discontinuation of
REBETOL Treatment
Hemoglobin
  
  No Cardiac History<10 g/dL<8.5 g/dL
  
  
Cardiac History Patients≥ 2 g/dL decrease during any 4-
week period during treatment
<12 g/dL after 4 weeks of dose
reduction

HOW SUPPLIED

REBETOL® 200-mg Capsules are white, opaque capsules with REBETOL, 200 mg, and the Schering Corporation logo imprinted on the capsule shell; the capsules are packaged in a bottle containing 42 capsules (NDC 0085-1327-04), 56 capsules (NDC 0085-1351-05), 70 capsules (NDC 0085-1385-07), and 84 capsules (NDC 0085-1194-03).

REBETOL Oral Solution 40 mg/mL is a clear, colorless to pale or light yellow bubble gum-flavored liquid and it is packaged in 4-oz amber glass bottles (100 mL/bottle) with child-resistant closures (NDC 0085-1318-01).

Storage Conditions

The bottle of REBETOL Capsules should be stored at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15°–30°C (59°–86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature].

REBETOL Oral Solution should be stored between 2°–8°C (36°–46°F) or at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15°–30°C (59°–86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature].

Logo

U.S. Patent Nos. 5,767,097; 5,914,128; 6,051,252; 6,063,772; 6,172,046; 6,177,074; 6,335,032; 6,337,090; 6,461,605; 6,472,373; and 6,524,570.
Copyright © 2003 Schering Corporation. All rights reserved.

B-XXXXXXXX Rev. 12/07

MEDICATION GUIDE
REBETOL® (ribavirin, USP) Capsules and Oral Solution

Read this medication guide carefully before you or your child begin taking REBETOL® [REB-eh-tol] Capsules or Oral Solution, and each time you refill your prescription in case new information has been included. This summary does not tell you everything about REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution. Your health care provider is the best source of information about this medicine. After reading this medication guide, talk with your health care provider if you have any questions about REBETOL.

What is the most important information I should know about therapy with REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution?

Female sexual partners of male patients being treated with REBETOL must not become pregnant during treatment and for 6 months after treatment has stopped. Therefore, you must use 2 forms of birth control during this time.

If you or a female sexual partner becomes pregnant, you should tell your health care provider. There is a Ribavirin Pregnancy Registry that collects information about pregnancy outcomes in female patients and female partners of male patients exposed to ribavirin. You or your health care provider are encouraged to contact the Registry at 1-800-593-2214.

Be assured that any information you tell the Registry will be kept confidential. (See " What should I avoid while taking REBETOL Capsules and Oral Solution?")

What is REBETOL (ribavirin)?

"REBETOL" is a form of the anti-viral drug ribavirin. It is used in combination with interferon alfa-2b to treat some patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. It is not known how REBETOL and interferon alfa-2b work together to fight hepatitis C infection (see the INTRON A or PegIntron Medication Guide).

It is not known if treatment with REBETOL and interferon alfa-2b will cure hepatitis C virus infections or prevent cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer that can be caused by hepatitis C virus infections. It is not known if treatment with REBETOL and interferon alfa-2b will prevent an infected person from infecting another person with the hepatitis C virus.

Who should not take REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution?

Do not use these medicines if:

Tell your health care provider before starting treatment with REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution in combination with PegIntron/INTRON A if you have any of the following medical conditions:

For more information see the INTRON A or PegIntron Medication Guides.

How should I take REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution?

Your health care provider has determined the correct dose of REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution based on your weight. Your health care provider may lower your dose of REBETOL if you have side effects.

What should I avoid while taking REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution?

Avoid the following during REBETOL Capsule or Oral Solution treatment:

What are the most common side effects of REBETOL Capsules and Oral Solution?

The most serious possible side effects of REBETOL Capsules and Oral Solution are:

Tell your provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms. They may be signs of a serious side effect:

The most common side effects of REBETOL Capsules and Oral Solution are:

This summary does not include all possible side effects of REBETOL therapy. Talk to your health care provider if you do not feel well while taking REBETOL. Your health care provider can give you more information about managing your side effects.

What should I know about hepatitis C infection?

Hepatitis C infection is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. This liver infection becomes a continuing (chronic) condition in most patients. Patients with chronic hepatitis C infection may develop cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. The virus is spread from one person to another by contact with the infected person's blood. You should talk to your health care provider about ways to prevent you from infecting others.

How do I store my REBETOL Capsules?

Store REBETOL Capsules at room temperature 77°F (25°C).

How do I store my REBETOL Oral Solution?

Store REBETOL Oral Solution at room temperature 77°F (25°C) or in the refrigerator 36° to 46°F (2° to 8°C).

General advice about prescription medicines

Do not use REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution for conditions for which they were not prescribed. If you have any concern about REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution, ask your health care provider. Your health care provider or pharmacist can give you information about REBETOL Capsules or Oral Solution that was written for health care professionals. Do not give this medicine to other people, even if they have the same condition you have.

Ingredients:

REBETOL Capsules contain ribavirin and the inactive ingredients microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, croscarmellose sodium, and magnesium stearate. The capsule shell consists of gelatin and titanium dioxide. The capsule is printed with edible blue pharmaceutical ink which is made of shellac, anhydrous ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, n-butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, ammonium hydroxide, and FD&C Blue #2 aluminum lake.

REBETOL Oral Solution contains ribavirin and the inactive ingredients sodium citrate, citric acid, sodium benzoate, glycerin, sucrose, sorbitol, propylene glycol, and water.

This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Manufactured by:
Schering Corporation
Kenilworth, NJ 07033 USA

Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003, Schering Corporation. All rights reserved.

Rev. 12/07
B-XXXXXXXX


Rebetol (Ribavirin)
PRODUCT INFO
Product Code0085-1327Dosage FormCAPSULE
Route Of AdministrationORALDEA Schedule
INGREDIENTS
Name (Active Moiety)TypeStrength
Ribavirin (Ribavirin) Active200 MILLIGRAM  In 1 CAPSULE
microcrystalline celluloseInactive 
lactose monohydrate Inactive 
croscarmellose sodiumInactive 
magnesiumInactive 
IMPRINT INFORMATION
CharacteristicAppearanceCharacteristicAppearance
ColorWHITEScore1
ShapeCAPSULESymboltrue
Imprint Code REBETOL;200;mg Coatingfalse
Size8mm
PACKAGING
#NDCPackage DescriptionMultilevel Packaging
10085-1327-0442 CAPSULE In 1 BOTTLENone

Rebetol (Ribavirin)
PRODUCT INFO
Product Code0085-1351Dosage FormCAPSULE
Route Of AdministrationORALDEA Schedule
INGREDIENTS
Name (Active Moiety)TypeStrength
Ribavirin (Ribavirin) Active200 MILLIGRAM  In 1 CAPSULE
microcrystalline celluloseInactive 
lactose monohydrate Inactive 
croscarmellose sodiumInactive 
magnesiumInactive 
IMPRINT INFORMATION
CharacteristicAppearanceCharacteristicAppearance
ColorWHITEScore1
ShapeCAPSULESymboltrue
Imprint Code REBETOL;200;mg Coatingfalse
Size8mm
PACKAGING
#NDCPackage DescriptionMultilevel Packaging
10085-1351-0556 CAPSULE In 1 BOTTLENone

Rebetol (Ribavirin)
PRODUCT INFO
Product Code0085-1385Dosage FormCAPSULE
Route Of AdministrationORALDEA Schedule
INGREDIENTS
Name (Active Moiety)TypeStrength
Ribavirin (Ribavirin) Active200 MILLIGRAM  In 1 CAPSULE
microcrystalline celluloseInactive 
lactose monohydrate Inactive 
croscarmellose sodiumInactive 
magnesiumInactive 
IMPRINT INFORMATION
CharacteristicAppearanceCharacteristicAppearance
ColorWHITEScore1
ShapeCAPSULESymboltrue
Imprint Code REBETOL;200;mg Coatingfalse
Size8mm
PACKAGING
#NDCPackage DescriptionMultilevel Packaging
10085-1385-0770 CAPSULE In 1 BOTTLENone

Rebetol (Ribavirin)
PRODUCT INFO
Product Code0085-1194Dosage FormCAPSULE
Route Of AdministrationORALDEA Schedule
INGREDIENTS
Name (Active Moiety)TypeStrength
Ribavirin (Ribavirin) Active200 MILLIGRAM  In 1 CAPSULE
microcrystalline celluloseInactive 
lactose monohydrate Inactive 
croscarmellose sodiumInactive 
magnesiumInactive 
IMPRINT INFORMATION
CharacteristicAppearanceCharacteristicAppearance
ColorWHITEScore1
ShapeCAPSULESymboltrue
Imprint Code REBETOL;200;mg Coatingfalse
Size8mm
PACKAGING
#NDCPackage DescriptionMultilevel Packaging
10085-1194-0384 CAPSULE In 1 BOTTLENone

Rebetol (Ribavirin)
PRODUCT INFO
Product Code0085-1318Dosage FormSOLUTION
Route Of AdministrationORALDEA Schedule
INGREDIENTS
Name (Active Moiety)TypeStrength
Ribavirin (Ribavirin) Active40 MILLIGRAM  In 1 MILLILITER
sucroseInactive 
glycerinInactive 
sorbitolInactive 
propylene glycolInactive 
sodium citrateInactive 
citric acidInactive 
sodium benzoateInactive 
natural and artificial flavor for bubble gum #15864Inactive 
waterInactive 
IMPRINT INFORMATION
CharacteristicAppearanceCharacteristicAppearance
ColorScore
ShapeSymbol
Imprint CodeCoating
Size
PACKAGING
#NDCPackage DescriptionMultilevel Packaging
10085-1318-01100 MILLILITER In 1 BOTTLE, GLASSNone

Revised: 01/2008Schering Corporation