Pediatric Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers Medication

Updated: Apr 02, 2018
  • Author: Martha L Muller, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

Ribavirin is effective for treating patients with Lassa fever and markedly reduces the mortality rate if used within the first week of illness. Oral ribavirin may be of benefit for postexposure prophylaxis in high-risk Lassa fever exposures. [45] Its use is under investigation for the treatment of patients with South American hemorrhagic fever (HF) but it is recommended for infection with all arenaviruses until a more effective alternative treatment becomes available. Widespread clinical trials have not established the efficacy of ribavirin in Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). [46] No evidence suggests any benefit of antiviral agents, passive antibodies, or interferon in the treatment for Ebola or Marburg virus infection. Other agents are being sought. [47, 48]


Antiviral agents

Class Summary

Some evidence suggests that ribavirin may be effective in the viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) (in addition to Lassa fever, for which it is effective), particularly among the other arenaviruses and possibly in CCHF. [49] Treatment must be initiated promptly at the onset of the infection to effectively inhibit the replicating virus.

Ribavirin (Virazole)

DOC for VHF caused by arenaviruses, until other more effective drugs are identified and made available. Inhibits viral replication by inhibiting DNA and RNA synthesis.