Objective: To review clinical outcomes data for patients treated with oral ribavirin for noninfluenza respiratory viral infections (NIRVIs).
Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PubMed Central (1972 to June 1, 2015) were queried with the following search term combinations: "Oral" AND "ribavirin" AND ("respiratory syncytial virus" OR "metapneumovirus" OR "parainfluenza" OR "coronavirus" OR "rhinovirus" OR "enterovirus" OR "adenovirus").
Study selection and data extraction: Included studies must have characterized the clinical outcomes of a cohort of patients treated with oral ribavirin for symptomatic NIRVIs. Case reports and series with <5 cases, conference abstracts, and articles written in languages other than English were excluded.
Data synthesis: Of the 1256 unique reports, 15 met inclusion criteria: 12 retrospective, 3 prospective, and 3 comparative with untreated control groups. All studies except for 2 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) studies were in immunocompromised patients (9 malignancy/stem cell transplant, 4 lung transplant). The mortality rate ranged from 0% to 31% in malignancy/stem cell transplant recipients treated with oral ribavirin, and 1/108 (0.9%) ribavirin-treated lung transplant recipients died at 30 days. Three studies (one each for malignancy, lung transplant, and MERS-CoV) suggested a clinical outcomes benefit with oral ribavirin compared with supportive care alone; however, the nonrandomized design precludes efficacy determination. Hemolysis was the most common adverse reaction, occurring in 14% (54/375) of patients. Ribavirin was discontinued in 4% of patients secondary to adverse reactions.
Conclusions: Oral ribavirin should be considered for the treatment of NIRVI in immunocompromised adults (malignancy/stem cell transplant or lung transplant) or adults with MERS-CoV.
Keywords: antivirals; community-acquired pneumonia; infectious diseases; respiratory infections; viral infections.
© The Author(s) 2015.