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Virazole (inhalation)

Generic Name: Ribavirin Inhalation [Rye-bavye-rin]

Brand Name: Virazole
Drug Classes: Inhaled Anti-Infectives, Purine Nucleosides

What is Virazole?

The antiviral drug Virazole can be used to treat severe respiratory infections in babies and children caused by the respiratory syncytial virus.

This medication guide does not list all possible uses of virazole.

Side effects of Virazole

Seek emergency medical attention if you notice any of these signs in your child: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, face, tongue, or throat.

Virazole is administered under close supervision to your baby. If your baby develops any problems, a healthcare professional may need to treat them.

Sudden respiratory problems can occur. Inform your baby's carer immediately if you notice any of the following side effects:

  • Fever, cough;
  • Breathing shallowly
  • Limping or extreme weakness.
  • Gasping for air;
  • Blue-coloured lips and cold, clammy skin
  • Cough with mucus
  • Other worsening breathing problems

It is possible, although unlikely, that virazole can be released in the air at levels high enough to cause adverse effects on people who are in close contact with a child receiving virazole. If you experience any of the following side effects when caring for a child, tell your doctor.

  • Chest pain, shortness of breath
  • Sore throat.
  • Headache, dizziness;
  • Nausea;
  • Is rash
  • Red eyes, watering eyes

The symptoms of RSV infection in adults may be similar. Any new symptoms should be reported to your doctor immediately.

There may be other side effects. For medical advice on side effects, call your doctor. The FDA can be contacted at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report side effects.


This medicine can cause sudden breathing problems in your child. The lung function of your child will be checked frequently.

Before you take this drug

If your child has an allergy to virazole, you should not treat him with virazole.This medication is only for young children. However, virazole may harm a baby in utero or cause birth defects.

Virazole is not recommended for women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant, or for men with a partner who is pregnant.

How to take Virazole?

In a hospital, a healthcare provider will administer this medication to your baby.The virazole medicine is administered with an aerosol machine, which releases the medicine into a tent or oxygen hood. The medicine can be inhaled slowly over a period of time.Virazole can be given for 12 to 18 hours a day for 3–7 days.

While your child is receiving this medicine, small amounts of ribavirin could be released into the air. Anyone who is in close proximity to the child could be exposed to virazole.The lung function of your child will be regularly tested. Your doctor may prescribe bronchodilator medications to improve your child’s breathing.

While your baby is receiving this medication, you may need to take special precautions in order to prevent exposure to airborne virazole. Follow all instructions when handling your child or being in close proximity to them.Women who can become pregnant should avoid contact with the baby. Take all necessary safety precautions to minimize your exposure to virazole.

You may be at risk for infection if you are in close proximity to a child with RSV. If you experience symptoms like a headache, sore nose, sore mouth, cough, fever, or hoarseness and wheezing, seek medical attention.Adults should not use virazole. It is only for babies and young children.

What happens if I miss the dose?

A missed dose of virazole is unlikely because your child will be receiving it in a clinical environment.

What happens if I overdose?

Overdoses are unlikely because virazole will be administered by a healthcare provider in a medical environment.

What should be avoided?

You should always follow your doctor's advice regarding any restrictions that you need to observe when caring for an infant who is being treated with medicine.

Interaction with other drug

The carers of your child will monitor and manage all medication given to them during virazole treatment.This includes vitamins, minerals, or herbal products. Do not give your child vitamins or minerals.