Division of Clinical Care and Research, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Ribavirin, once a staple of hepatitis C treatment, has significant drawbacks, including treatment-limiting side effects, the requirement for intensive laboratory monitoring, the need for frequent dose adjustments, and teratogenicity. These factors make it difficult to escalate ribavirin-based HCV treatment to most infected patients globally. Most studies have shown comparable response rates between ribavirin-inclusive and ribavirin-sparing regimens in uncomplicated patient populations. However, ribavirin is still used in the management of patients who have failed previous therapy as well as those with decompensated liver disease. In this review, we explore the evidence supporting the use of ribavirin in the current climate of hepatitis C treatment with oral combination direct-acting antiviral agents.