HEPATITIS C TREATMENT
What are the new Hep C treatments?
From March 2016, new medicines known as direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) became available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia. These new medicines are highly effective for most people and have little to no side-effects.
Direct-acting antiviral medicines available on the PBS from 1 October 2017 are as follows:
· Daklinza® (daclatasvir)
· Epclusa® (sofosbuvir + velpatasvir)
· Harvoni® (sofosbuvir + ledipasvir)
· Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir)
· Viekira-Pak® (paritaprevir + ritonavir + ombatisvir + dasabuvir)
· Viekira-Pak RBV® (as above + ribavirin)
· Zepatier® (elbasvir + grazoprevir)
The DAA medicine your doctor prescribes for you will depend on a number of things. These include: the genotype of hep C you have, whether you have developed cirrhosis (liver scarring) or whether you have other existing health conditions.
To assist you on your journey towards a hep C cure, Hepatitis NSW and Hepatitis QLD have developed Treatment Directories for hep C that provide information on where to find medical services, pharmacies dispensing the new hep C treatments, and liver clinics.
On the 1st August 2017 Epclusa was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Epclusa is a tablet used to treat adults with all genotypes (strains) of chronic hep C infection making hep C treatment event simpler. This medicine is often referred to as being pan-genotypic meaning they are effective against all hep C genotypes.
Why are the new treatments better than the old ones?
· They are much more effective; more people than before are now being cured of hep C
· Treatment time is shorter
· They have little to no side-effects
· They are much simpler and can be prescribed by your GP, your specialist or an approved nurse practitioner.
· The DAA medicines are all oral tablets, there is no need for injections
How effective are the new treatment at curing Hep C?
The new treatments have a cure rate above 95%. More people than ever are being cured of hep C.
How long do you need to be on treatment?
Treatment will usually be for a period of 8 to 12 weeks, but may be for up to 24 weeks for some people with liver damage. The amount of time you need to be on treatment will be depend on your own personal situation.
What are the treatment side-effects?
Most medicines can have side-effects and each person’s experience will be different. The new DAA medicines have far fewer side-effects and are better tolerated than the older medicines. If you do experience side-effects they may include fatigue, headache, insomnia and nausea, but they are uncommon and typically mild. Please discuss possible side-effects with your doctor. It is important to understand what the possible side-effects are for any medicines you will be taking and to tell your doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms.
For more information on hep C treatment you can contact the National Hepatitis Info Line on 1800 437 222.
Hepatitis C Virus Infection Consensus Statement Working Group. Australian recommendations for the management of hepatitis statement (August 2017).
Melbourne: Gastroenterological Society of Australia, 2017. Accessed 25.10.17
Page Updated 03 July 2018