- Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD more...
The goals of pharmacotherapy are to reduce morbidity and to prevent complications.
Clinical experience with ribavirin in the treatment of Arenavirus infections is primarily with Lassa fever, but anecdotal experience in the South American arenaviruses also exists.
One study demonstrated a reduction in mortality from 55% to 5% in severe Lassa fever with intravenous ribavirin when administered within the first 6 days. Oral ribavirin may also be effective, although it has less bioavailability compared with intravenous formulations. Oral ribavirin is also sometimes used as postexposure prophylaxis, although data are limited.
Synthetic guanosine analog (1beta-D-ribofuranosyl- 1H-1,2,4-triazole-3-carboxamide) that inhibits viral replication by inhibiting DNA and RNA synthesis.
Phosphorylated in vivo, and the active form may interfere with viral genomic synthesis. Clinically used in combination with interferon for hepatitis C, as aerosol for respiratory syncytial virus, and as potential prophylaxis and/or treatment of Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, hantavirus infections, and Arenavirus hemorrhagic fevers. In vitro evidence exists for activity against West Nile virus. IV form not readily available and the manufacturer should be contacted if the need arises.
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