The antiviral, ribavirin, has come up a few times on forums but it seems like no one really uses it. I wonder why?
It seems to have a fairly benign side effect profile and is even sold OTC in some countries.
It has efficacy against HSV and CMV and can help to modulate the immune system. It's also an anti-inflammatory.
So, I wonder what the story is...has anyone ever tried it? Especially in combination with other antivirals?

Treatment with ribavirin and interferon-alpha reduces interferon-gamma expression in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Bergamini A, et al. Clin Exp Immunol. 2001.
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Recent studies in vitro and in animals have suggested that ribavirin may potentiate the antihepatitis C virus (HCV) activity of interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) by up-modulating the production of T cell-derived cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-2 and IFN-gamma, which play a key role in the cellular immune response against HCV. To study the immune-modulatory mechanisms of ribavirin further, cytokine production by activated T cells and circulating cytokine levels were studied by FACS analysis and ELISA testing in 25 patients with chronic hepatitis C unresponsive to IFN-alpha, before and after treatment with either ribavirin plus IFN-alpha or IFN-alpha alone. After 16 weeks of treatment, both the expression of IFN-gamma by activated T cells and the blood levels of IFN-gamma, were significantly reduced with respect to pretreatment values in patients treated with ribavirin and IFN-alpha but not in those undergoing treatment with IFN-alpha alone. The expression of IFN-gamma was significantly lower in patients that gained normal ALT levels with respect to those that did not. No modification of the expression of IL-2, IL-4 and IL-10 was found before and after treatment in either group of patients. In conclusion, the results of this study do not support up-modulation of IFN-gamma and IL-2 production as the mechanism by which ribavirin potentiates IFN-alpha anti HCV activity. In addition, our findings suggest that ribavirin may exert an anti-inflammatory effect and may help reducing IFN-gamma-driven T cell activation and liver damage.

11298134 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Who Me?

Well-Known Member
I can't remember hearing about this. Maybe cuz it's more for hep c?

Definitely worth investigating.

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