Hepatitis C Treatment : Hepatitis C Medications
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Hepatitis C Medications

The goal of HCV treatment is to cure the virus, which can be done with a combination of drugs. The specific meds used and the duration of treatment depend on a number of factors, including HCV genotype (genetic structure of the virus), viral load, past treatment experience, degree of liver damage, ability to tolerate the prescribed treatment, and whether the person is waiting for a liver transplant or is a transplant recipient. In some cases, HCV treatment may be limited by your health insurance plan or drug formulary.

Here's more specific information about each type, or class, of approved HCV treatment along with drugs in the late stages of development (Click here for a printable PDF version):

Multi-Class Combination Drugs
Brand NameGeneric NameStatusPharmaceutical Company
Harvonisofosbuvir + ledipasvir (GS-7977 + GS-5885)ApprovedGilead Sciences
Technivie (Viekirax)(ombitasvir + paritaprevir + ritonavir)ApprovedAbbVie
Viekira Pak(ombitasvir + paritaprevir + ritonavir) + (dasabuvir)ApprovedAbbVie
n/agrazoprevir + elbasvir (MK-8742 + MK-5172)Phase III (submitted to FDA 5/2015)Merck
n/aasunaprevir + daclatasvir + BMS-791325Phase IIIBristol-Myers Squibb

Pegylated Interferon Alfa
Brand NameGeneric NameStatusPharmaceutical Company
PegIntronpeginterferon alfa-2bApprovedMerck
Pegasyspeginterferon alfa-2aApprovedGenentech
What are they?
Interferon is a protein made by the immune system, named because it interferes with viral reproduction. In addition, interferon signals the immune system to recognize and respond to microorganisms, including viral and bacterial infections. Infected cells release interferon to trigger the immune response. There are three types of interferon: alfa, beta and gamma. Interferon alfa is used to treat viral hepatitis and some types of cancer.

Nucleoside Analogs
Brand NameGeneric NameStatusPharmaceutical Company
Copegus, Moderiba, Rebetol and RibasphereribavirinApprovedGenentech, AbbVie, Merck and Kadmon
What are they?
Although it is not effective against hepatitis C when used alone, ribavirin plays an important role in HCV combination treatment. Scientists have not determined exactly how it works. However, it is clear that combining ribavirin with pegylated interferon boosts cure rates and reduces the risk of relapse.

NS3/4A Protease Inhibitors (PIs)
Brand NameGeneric NameStatusPharmaceutical Company
Olysio (Galexos/Sovriad)simeprevir (TMC435)ApprovedJanssen and Medivir AB
VictrelisboceprevirTo be discontinued 12/2015Merck
Sunvepraasunaprevir (BMS-650032)Phase III (not pursuing approval in U.S.)Bristol-Myers Squibb
n/avaniprevir (MK-7009)Phase IIIMerck
n/aparitaprevir (ABT-450)Phase IIIAbbVie
n/agrazoprevir (MK-5172)Phase IIIMerck
IncivektelaprevirDiscontinued as of 10/16/2014Vertex
What are they?
Protease inhibitors (PIs) block a protein that plays a critical role in HCV replication: They bind to the viral protease, which is responsible for processing viral proteins. Olysio is used to treat HCV genotype 1 and is taken once a day. The first generation of HCV protease inhibitors, Incivek and Victrelis, are also only used to treat HCV genotype 1 but must be taken three times a day. Future protease inhibitors may be potentially effective against other HCV genotypes.

Nucleoside and Nucleotide NS5B Polymerase Inhibitors
Brand NameGeneric NameStatusPharmaceutical Company
Sovaldisofosbuvir (GS-7977)ApprovedGilead Sciences
What are they?
These drugs block the NS5B protein, which plays a role in the replication of HCV and is involved in creating copies of the viral RNA genome. Sovaldi is used to treat HCV genotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4 and is currently being researched as part of a once-a-day combination pill with the NS5A inhibitor ledipasvir for the treatment of genotype 1; Phase III studies have been very promising. If approved, the combination pill should be available by late 2014.

NS5A Inhibitors
Brand NameGeneric NameStatusPharmaceutical Company
Daklinzadaclatasvir (BMS-790052)ApprovedBristol-Myers Squibb
n/aledipasvir (GS-5885)Phase IIIGilead Sciences
n/aombitasvir (ABT-267)Phase IIIAbbVie
n/aGS-5816Phase IIIGilead
n/aelbasvir (MK-8742)Phase IIIMerck
What are they?
NS5A is an HCV protein, a part of the HCV replication complex (replicase), with multiple functions in the virus's life cycle. These inhibitors are currently being studied in combination with agents in other drug classes and show potential for use as a component of interferon- and ribavirin-free regimens.

Non-Nucleoside NS5B Polymerase Inhibitors
Brand NameGeneric NameStatusPharmaceutical Company
Exvieradasabuvir (ABT-333)Phase IIIAbbVie
n/abeclabuvir BMS-791325Phase IIIBristol-Myers Squibb
n/aABT-072Phase IIAbbVie
What are they?
These drugs are active against NS5B but through a different mechanism than the nucleoside/nucleotide NS5B polymerase inhibitors described above.  

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Last Revised: August 17, 2015

This content is written by the Hep editorial team.


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