Harvoni is a medication used to treat hepatitis C, it’s made up of a combination of the ledipasvir and sofosbuvir. It’s extremely effective at curing Hepatitis C with the genotype 1, and evidence suggests it may also be effective in treating genotypes 3 and 4.
- How does Harvoni work?
- How much does Harvoni cost?
- What are the side effects of Harvoni?
- How long does Harvoni stay in your system?
- Can you drink alcohol while taking Harvoni?
- What is the right Harvoni dosage for me?
- Does Harvoni cause weight loss?
- Does Harvoni cure hepatitis C?
1. How does Harvoni work?
Harvoni is made up of two separate drugs, ledipasvir and sofosbuvir. Each of these drugs block proteins that enable hepatitis C to grow. Ledipasvir blocks NS5A, a protein that plays a key role in Hepatitis C RNA replication. Sofosbuvir blocks NS5B, an RNA polymerase that also plays a role in replication the virus.
2. How much does Harvoni cost?
The price of Harvoni will vary greatly depending on location and insurance coverage. However, the cash price of Harvoni is $94,500 for a full 12-week course of treatment. This breaks down to $31,500 per month.
Is it possible to get Harvoni for free?
Depending on your financial situation, you may qualify to receive Harvoni at a greatly reduced price, or even for free. Gilead, the producer of Harvoni offers a patient assistance program to help low-income or uninsured patients get access to the medications they need. To learn more or find out if you qualify, click here.
How much does Harvoni cost with insurance?
It’s unfortunately impossible to provide an answer as this will vary widely based on your unique situation. The Gilead Support Path site linked above may also be able to provide more accurate estimates based on your insurance coverage.
Is there a generic form of Harvoni?
There is a generic form of Harvoni sold under the name ledipasvir/sofosbuvir. The cost for a 12-week course of ledipasvir/sofosbuvir is $30,270, meaning the monthly cost is $10,090.
3. What are the side effects of Harvoni?
Harvoni may potentially cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. The list below includes some of the most common side effects but is not a complete list. Mild side effects may go away after a few days or weeks of consistent medication-taking, but if they persist or worsen you should speak with your doctor.
Common side effects:
- Muscle Aches
Severe side effects:
- Hepatitis B reactivation (in people coinfected with hep B and hep C)
- Suicidal Thoughts
In some rare cases, patients can experience allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking Harvoni.
- Skin rash
- Tightness in the throat or chest
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
4. How long does Harvoni stay in your system?
Many hepatitis C drugs leave your system fairly quickly. Harvoni, however, takes around 11 days, thanks to the lengthy half-lives of both ledipasvir and sofosbuvir. Since the drug stays in your system for so long, it’s possible that some patients may continue to experience some side effects, such as fatigue, for a couple week after finishing treatment.
5. Can you drink alcohol while taking Harvoni?
You should not drink alcohol while taking Harvoni. While alcohol doesn’t interact directly with Harvoni, it can lead to increased side effects and liver damage. Even without taking Harvoni, the combination of hepatitis C and alcohol can be dangerous. People with hep C or taking Harvoni should avoid alcohol altogether.
6. What is the right Harvoni dosage for me?
The proper dosage of Harvoni will vary between patients and is based on several factors. You should always follow your doctor’s instructions or the directions on the label. The following information refers to typical doses for adult patients.
For patients with genotype 1, 4, 5, or 6 HCV, the recommended dosage is one tablet (90mg ledipasvir, 400mg sofosbuvir) taken orally once per day.
In children 3 years and older with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1, 4, 5 or 6 infection, dosing is weight-based:
<17 kg: 1 packet (33.75 mg/150 mg) of pellets orally once a day
17 to <35kg: 1 tablet or packet (45 mg/200 mg) orally once a day
≥35 kg: 1 tablet (90 mg/400 mg) rally once a day or 2 tablets or packets (45 mg/200 mg) orally once a day
7. Does Harvoni cause weight loss?
Changes in weight, both gains and losses, were not reported in any clinical studies performed with Harvoni. However, weight loss can be a symptom of hepatitis C, meaning that it’s possible you’ll experience weight loss while taking Harvoni, but not because of Harvoni.
8. Does Harvoni cure hepatitis C?
The aim of antiviral treatment for hepatitis C is to stop infection progression, prevent liver function deterioration and reduce the risk of hepatitis C related liver disease. Hepatitis C is considered cured when the viral load has been reduced to an undetectable level and sustained at that level for 12-24 weeks after treatment. Fortunately, most people (>95%) who take direct-acting antivirals such as Harvoni are cured. Furthermore, only around 1-2% of patients who were cured after taking Harvoni experience recurrence.
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