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Current and Future Medications for Hepatitis C (cont.)

What medications treat or cure hepatitis C (DAAs, interferons, ribavirin)?

Hepatitis C treatments once involved months of injected interferons with up to 50% cure rates, and serious side effects. With newer medications hepatitis C can be treated with oral combinations of medicines for several weeks. These are generally well-tolerated and yield sustained cure of virus from the blood in over 90% of cases.

The goal of treating HCV-infected persons is to reduce the risk of death, end-stage liver disease, and other liver-related adverse events by achievement of virologic cure which is determined by sustained virologic response (SVR). Sustained virology response means complete disappearance of the HCV for at least 12 weeks after stopping treatment.

DAAs (Direct-Acting Agents, Protease Inhibitors, Nucleotide Polymerase Inhibitors, and NS5A Inhibitors)

Patient Comments

These drugs are called direct-acting agents (DAA) because unlike interferons and ribavirin, they directly block growth of the hepatitis C virus. They are most often used in combinations.

Examples of HCV treatment combinations containing protease inhibitors and nucleotide polymerase inhibitors:

  • telaprevir (Incivek), (voluntarily withdrawn from the market in August 2014)
  • boceprevir (Victrelis)
  • simeprevir (Olysio)
  • Technivie (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir)
  • Viekira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir)
  • Zepatier (grazoprevir and elbasvir)
  • Sovaldi (sofosbuvir)
  • Harvoni (sofosbuvir and ledipasvir)
  • Daklinza (daclatasvir)

How do protease inhibitors work?

Protease Inhibitors are termed direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA). They directly act on the virus by inhibiting certain enzymes and proteins necessary for replication of the HCV virus.

How do nucleotide polymerase inhibitors work?

Nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitors are another type of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA). They block the action of proteins that HCV uses for making new viruses.

How do NS5A inhibitors work?

These are direct-acting antivirals that block the action the HCV NS5A protein and interfere with making new viruses.

Who should not use these medications?

The contraindications, warnings, and precautions for ribavirin apply when ribavirin is combined with these agents.

  • Zepatier, Viekira Pak, and Technivie should not be used by people with moderate to severe liver disease.
  • Harvoni is indicated for people with moderate to severe cirrhosis, including those who have received liver transplants.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Hepatitis C Medications:

Hepatitis C Medications - Experience

Please share your experience with hepatitis C drugs.

Hepatitis C - Direct-Acting Agents

Please share your experience with DAA drugs (type of drug, any side effects, etc.). Also, is your hepatitis cured?

Hepatitis C - Interferons

Please share your experience with interferons to treat hep C (for example, side effects, drug interactions, etc.).

Hepatitis C - Ribavirin

Please share your experience with ribavirin (for example, side effects, drug interactions, etc.).

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Hepatitis C »

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 170 million individuals worldwide are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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