Is it Safe to Take Ribavirin During Pregnancy?

ribavirin during pregnancy

Ribavirin therapy is contraindicated in women who are pregnant and in the male partners of women who are pregnant. Ribavirin should be avoided during pregnancy and during the 6 months before pregnancy in both the female and the male sexual partner. Significant teratogenic effects have been demonstrated in all animal species exposed to ribavirin.

  • Ribavirin is a Category X drug, meaning it can cause birth defects.
  • Ribavirin is an antiviral drug used to treat chronic cases of Hepatitis C.
  • Both men and women should not take Ribavirin if they are trying to get pregnancy. 
  • If you are taking Ribavirin, consider using birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Ribavirin is in a class of medications called nucleoside analogues. It works by stopping the virus that causes hepatitis C from spreading inside the body.

Because of the high potential for complications, women are advised to wait six months after discontinuing Ribavirin to start trying to get pregnant. Men should do the same if they are on Ribavirin, as it can cause abnormalities in the sperm. Despite patient education and counseling, Ribavirin-exposed pregnancies occur.

What effect does Ribavirin have on the baby?

A baby’s body and most internal organs are formed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is mainly during this time that some medicines are known to cause birth defects. Whilst the full impact of Ribavirin has not been properly studied, medical professionals state “Ribavirin can cause birth defects, miscarriage, or death to an unborn baby if the mother or father is using this medicine.”

What does the research say about Ribavirin and pregnancy?

In studies involving pregnant animals, Ribavirin caused many fetal birth defects or death. The animal fetuses in almost all cases were subject to embryo lethality and teratogenicity. Understanding more about the risk of ribavirin exposure in human pregnancy is critical. 

If you have any concerns over taking medication if you are trying to get pregnant or you are pregnant, please speak to a healthcare professional or an OBGYN_

Nabta is reshaping women’s healthcare. We support women with their personal health journeys, from everyday wellbeing to the uniquely female experiences of fertility, pregnancy, and menopause. You can track your menstrual cycle and get personalised support by using the Nabta app.

Get in touch if you have any questions about this article or any aspect of women’s health. We’re here for you. 


Sinclair Roberts, S, Assessing ribavirin exposure during pregnancy: the Ribavirin Pregnancy Registry, Gastroent Nur. Nov 2008

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