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(rye ba vye' rin)Ribavirin will not treat hepatitis C (a virus that infects the liver and may cause severe liver damage or liver cancer) unless it is taken with another medication. Your doctor will prescribe another medication to take with ribavirin if you have hepatitis C. Take both medications exactly as directed. Ribavirin may cause anemia (condition in which there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells) that can worsen any heart problems you have and can cause you to have a heart attack that can be life-threatening. Tell your doctor if you have ever had a heart attack and if you have or have ever had high blood pressure, breathing problems, any condition that affects your blood such as sickle cell anemia (inherited condition in which the red blood cells are abnormally shaped and cannot bring oxygen to all parts of the body) or thalassemia (Mediterranean anemia; a condition in which the red blood cells do not contain enough of the substance needed to carry oxygen), bleeding in the stomach or intestines, or heart disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: excessive tiredness, pale skin, headache, dizziness, confusion, fast heartbeat, weakness, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order blood tests before you start taking ribavirin and often during your treatment. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking ribavirin. For female patients: Do not take ribavirin if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not start taking ribavirin until a pregnancy test has shown that you are not pregnant. You must use two forms of birth control and be tested for pregnancy every month during your treatment and for 6 months afterward. Call your doctor immediately if you become pregnant during this time. Ribavirin may cause harm or death to the fetus. For male patients: Do not take ribavirin if your partner is pregnant or plans to become pregnant. If you have a partner who can become pregnant, you should not start taking ribavirin until a pregnancy test shows that she is not pregnant. You must use two forms of birth control, including a condom with spermicide during your treatment and for 6 months afterward. Your partner must be tested for pregnancy every month during this time. Call your doctor immediately if your partner becomes pregnant. Ribavirin may cause harm or death to the fetus.