FDA-Approved Hepatitis C Drugs

Medications that offer cure rates of as high as 99 percent

When the drug Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) was first introduced in September 2014, it not only marked a sea change in how hepatitis C infection was treated, it made obsolete earlier generation medications which were nowhere near as effective. Within months of Sovaldi's arrival, such hepatitis C mainstays as Incivek (telaprevir) and Victrelis (boceprevir) were quickly yanked from the market, never to be seen again.

Following fast on Sovaldi's heels was the introduction of six additional drug formulations able to treat an ever-widening range of hepatitis C genotypes. These newer drugs not only offered fewer side effects, they reduced the course of therapy by as much as three months.

With cure rates now exceeding 95 percent in many cases, the only real challenge is how to expand access to the 130 to 150 million people chronically infected with hepatitis C worldwide.

Here are the eight new mainstays of hepatitis C treatment, listed by the order of their FDA approval:

1

Photo courtesy Gilead Sciences

Approved on June 28, 2016, Epclusa (sofosbuvir, velpatasvir) is a two-in-one combination tablet able to treat all six major hepatitis C genotypes. It can be used to treat people with cirrhosis (including decompensated cirrhosis). Epclusa is prescribed in a once-daily dose for a period of one to six weeks.

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2

Courtesy Merck

Approved in January 2016, Zepatier (elbasvir, grazoprevir) is a fixed-dose combination drug used to treat genotypes 1 and 4 with or without cirrhosis. Zepatier is a single-pill therapy that does not need to be administered with any other drug. It is taken once daily with or without food for 12 to 16 weeks, depending on the type of genotype a person has and whether or not the person has been previously treated for hepatitis C.

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3

Courtesy: Bristol Myer Squibb

Approved in July 2015, Daklinza (daclatasvir) is used in combination therapy to treat hepatitis C genotype 3 infection. Daklinza was the first direct-acting antiviral able to treat genotype 3 without the addition of peginterferon or ribavirin. Daklinza is taken along with Sovaldi once daily with or without food for a period of 12 weeks.

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4

Courtesy AbbVie

Approved in July 2015, Technivie (ombitasvir, paritaprevir/ritonavir) is a drug used in combination therapy to treat people with genotype 4 infection. The three drug agents that comprise Technivie are included in the two-pill bundle, Viekira Pak. The recommended dosage is two tablets taken twice daily with ribavirin for 12 weeks.

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5

Approved in December 2014, Viekira Pak is a co-packaged drug therapy used to treat hepatitis C genotype 1 infection with or without cirrhosis. The pack includes the drug Technivie co-packaged alongside an additional drug known as dasabuvir. The recommended dosage is two tablets of Technvie taken once daily with food and one tablet of dasabuvir taken twice daily with food. The treatment duration is from 12 to 24 weeks.

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6

Approved in October 2014, Harvoni (ledipasvir, sofosbuvir) is a fixed-dose combination drug used to treat genotype 1 and 4 infections with or without cirrhosis. It can also be used in some cases of genotype 3. Harvoni was the first, all-in-one drug formulation that didn't require co-administration with peginterferon or ribavirin. The recommended dosage is one tablet daily taken with or without food. The treatment duration is from 12 to 24 weeks.

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7

Sovalilarge.jpg
Courtesy Gilead Sciences

Approved in December 2013, Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) is a novel direct-acting antiviral drug used to treat genotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4. The recommended dosage is one tablet daily taken with or without food. Depending on the genotype, ribavirin may be incorporated into the therapy. For genotype 3 infection, Sovaldi is co-administered with Daklinza. The treatment duration is from 12 to 24 weeks.

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8

Olysio.jpg
Photo courtesy Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Approved in November 2013, Olysio (simeprevir) is a protease inhibitor-class drug used in combination therapy to treat people with hepatitis C genotype 1 infection. Olysio is used in combination with both peginterferon and ribavirin for a period of 24 to 36 weeks. The recommended dosage is one tablet taken daily with food.

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