Frequently asked questions about VIEKIRA PAK-RBV2
Why do I need ribavirin (RBV)?
VIEKIRA PAK-RBV is prescribed to treat a specific type of chronic genotype 1 hepatitis C. Your Hep C doctor has decided that it is the most appropriate treatment for you. With your prescription, you will receive VIEKIRA PAK tablets in daily blister packs, as well as ribavirin tablets in a bottle.
You will receive both of these together in the monthly carton of VIEKIRA PAK-RBV.
What should I do if my ribavirin dose is changed?
Your Hep C doctor may adjust your dose of ribavirin (blue tablets) based on the results of your blood tests, or if you experience any side effects, and will contact you to tell you about this change. They will provide you with instructions on how many ribavirin tablets you need to take each morning and evening.
If your dosage of ribavirin changes, please ask for a new dosage card to be filled in and given to you when you collect your next month of VIEKIRA PAK-RBV.
Even if your ribavirin dose changes, your VIEKIRA PAK dose (pink and beige tablets) will not change. Always follow the advice of your Hep C doctor or nurse, and contact them if you don’t understand.
Return any left-over ribavirin tablets to a pharmacist for disposal.
What should I do if I am not sure about my ribavirin dosage?
Always check with your Hep C doctor, nurse or pharmacists if you are unsure about what dose of ribavirin you should be taking.
If you do not have a dose card, ask for one to be filled in and given to you when you collect your medicine to help you remember your ribavirin dosage.
Why do I have left-over ribavirin tablets after I have finished my VIEKIRA PAK tablets?
The VIEKIRA PAK dose (pink and beige tablets) does not change, but ribavirin (blue tablets) can be prescribed in different doses. Depending on your prescribed dose, you may have some ribavirin tablets left in the bottle after you finish the VIEKIRA PAK tablets. You can return any left-over ribavirin tablets to a pharmacist for disposal.
Can I take VIEKIRA PAK-RBV whilst pregnant or if planning to become pregnant?2
No. Do not take VIEKIRA PAK-RBV if you are pregnant or if you are trying to get pregnant.
Ribavirin may cause birth defects and/or death of an unborn baby.
For men, do not take VIEKIRA PAK-RBV if your female partner is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. Extreme care must be taken to avoid pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after finishing treatment with ribavirin. Two reliable forms of contraception must be used during this time. This applies both to women and to men who have partners of childbearing age. Talk to your doctor or nurse about this.
Can I start, stop or change contraceptives while on VIEKIRA PAK-RBV?2
Some oral contraceptives (containing ethinyloestradiol) should not be taken during treatment with VIEKIRA PAK-RBV. Your Hep C doctor or nurse can give you information on alternative contraception if necessary.
Can I breastfeed while taking VIEKIRA PAK-RBV?2
Do not take VIEKIRA PAK-RBV if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
It is not known whether this medicine passes into the breast milk. Your doctor or nurse will discuss the risks and benefits of using this medicine if you are breastfeeding.
Can I start other medicines while on VIEKIRA PAK-RBV?
Always talk to your Hep C doctor, nurse, or pharmacist before taking any other medicines or treatments, including natural and herbal remedies and recreational drugs. Some medicines and remedies can interfere with the way VIEKIRA PAK-RBV works.
Can I share my VIEKIRA PAK-RBV TREATMENT with other people with Hep C?
No. VIEKIRA PAK-RBV has been prescribed for you because your Hep C doctor has decided that it could treat your specific type of Hep C. For the treatment to work most effectively, it’s very important that you take all of your tablets, which means not sharing any tablets and not missing any doses.
What should I do if I miss an appointment with the Hep C doctor or nurse?
If you miss an appointment, call to let the clinic staff know what has happened, and to book another one as soon as you can.
What blood tests will I need to have during treatment?
You may need to have certain blood tests, including haemoglobin (Hb) or full blood count (FBC) tests. Your Hep C doctor or nurse will tell you how often these should be done and which tests you need.
What happens if I notice a side effect?
Contact your Hep C doctor or nurse (who prescribed VIEKIRA PAK- RBV) as soon as possible. They can give you advice on what to do. If it is a medical emergency, go to your nearest hospital and remember to take your medicine and wallet dose card with you.
What should I do if I take too much medicine?
If you take more than your prescribed dose, contact your Hep C doctor or nurse immediately or go to your nearest hospital. Take your medicine with you so you can show what you have taken.
What should I do if I am vomiting?
If you vomit, keep taking your medicine at the regular times, but tell the Hep C doctor or nurse who prescribed VIEKIRA PAK-RBV as soon as possible. If you feel concerned, go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital and take your medicine and dose card with you.
What should I do with my VIEKIRA PAK-RBV if I have to go to hospital?
If you have to go to hospital, you must take your medicine and dosage card with you.
Ask the doctors at the hospital to contact your Hep C doctor to discuss your Hep C treatment.
What should I do if a different doctor wants me to stop the treatment with VIEKIRA PAK-RBV?
Explain that your Hep C doctor has prescribed VIEKIRA PAK-RBV and given strict directions for you to take the medicine every morning and evening for 12 or 24 weeks. Ask the doctor to contact your Hep C doctor to discuss the situation.
How will I know if the treatment is successful?
Your doctor or nurse will arrange a blood test for you 12 weeks after you have finished your treatment with VIEKIRA PAK-RBV. This blood test will show whether the Hep C virus has been cleared from your body.
What support will I have while on this treatment?
If you have any questions about your condition or your treatment, speak to your doctor, nurse or healthcare team.
What support can my friends, family of carers give me while I’m on treatment?
For some people, taking medicine regularly can be challenging. Friends and family can help you stay on track and take your medicine by:
- helping to plan a schedule for taking medicine.
- giving you prompts and reminders to take tablets on time.
- giving moral support to attend doctor’s appointments and tests at the clinic.
- writing down any questions or concerns to discuss with a doctor or nurse.
- listening and offering encouragement and motivation.
- assisting with everyday living activities
- supporting lifestyle changes such as cooking healthy meals, regular appropriate exercise, avoiding risk factors such as alcohol.
It’s important for those who support people with Hep C to care for themselves too.
Any more questions?
If you have any remaining questions about VIEKIRA PAK-RBV, speak to your Hep C doctor, pharmacist, or nurse, or read the Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) available on Medsafe for VIEKIRA PAK-RBV, or from your pharmacist.