Experience with intravenous ribavirin in the treatment of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Korea

Antiviral Res. 2009 Jan;81(1):68-76. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2008.09.007. Epub 2008 Oct 31.


Results of a clinical study using intravenous (IV) ribavirin for treating Department of Defense personnel with hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) acquired in Korea from 1987 to 2005 were reviewed to determine the clinical course of HFRS treated with IV ribavirin. A total of 38 individuals enrolled in the study had subsequent serological confirmation of HFRS. Four of the 38 individuals received three or fewer doses of ribavirin and were excluded from treatment analysis. Of the remaining 34 individuals, oliguria was present in one individual at treatment initiation; none of the remaining 33 subjects developed oliguria or required dialysis. The mean peak serum creatinine was 3.46 mg/dl and occurred on day 2 of ribavirin therapy. Both the peak serum creatinine and the onset of polyuria occurred on mean day 6.8 of illness. Reversible hemolytic anemia was the main adverse event of ribavirin, with a >or=25% decrease in hematocrit observed in 26/34 (76.5%) individuals. While inability to adjust for all baseline variables prevents comparison to historical cohorts in Korea where oliguria has been reported in 39-69% cases and dialysis required in approximately 40% HFRS cases caused by Hantaan virus, the occurrence of 3% oliguria and 0% dialysis requirement in the treatment cohort is supportive of a previous placebo-controlled HFRS trial in China where IV ribavirin given early resulted in decreased occurrence of oliguria and decreased severity of renal insufficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Hemolytic / etiology
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bradycardia / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Female
  • Hantaan virus / drug effects
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome / complications
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome / virology
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Korea
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ribavirin / administration & dosage*
  • Ribavirin / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Ribavirin
  • Creatinine