Intravenous ribavirin was given to nine patients who had developed severe adenovirus-induced hemorrhagic cystitis (AD-HC) which was resistant to conventional therapy or where there was involvement of other organs after allogeneic BMT. Three patients recovered completely from AD-HC, two of whom had been resistant to vidarabine. All three had received sibling BMTs (2 HLA matched, 1 HLA mismatched). Five patients who received BMTs from related (2 HLA mismatched) or unrelated (1 HLA matched, 2 HLA mismatched) showed an improvement in symptoms but had recurrent AD-HC after discontinuation of ribavirin. Improvement in clinical symptoms and termination of virus excretion were well correlated. The last patient who received a mismatched unrelated BMT died during ribavirin therapy. Ribavirin was notably more effective among patients receiving BMTs from siblings in contrast to patients receiving BMTs from alternative donors (<0.05). One patient experienced severe pancytopenia during the second treatment with ribavirin after HC recurrence and recovered after ceasing ribavirin. Thus, ribavirin seems to be very effective for severe AD-HC for some recipients who receive transplants from a genetically close donor. Bone Marrow Transplantation (2000) 25, 545-548.