What are the new hep C treatments?
Since March 2016, a range of new and much improved medicines known as direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have become available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia. These new medicines offer a cure for most people and have few or no side-effects.
The following DAA medicines are available on the PBS for the treatment of hep C. They are available on prescription from your GP, specialist or authorised practitioner.
Harvoni® (sofosbuvir + ledipasvir)
Zepatier® (elbasvir + grazoprevir)
Epclusa® (sofosbuvir + velpatasvir)
Some of these medicines treat all genotypes (strains) and others are suitable for particular genotypes.
The DAA medicine or combination of medicines 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.
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 few or no side effects.
Your GP, specialist or authorised nurse practitioner can prescribe them.
They are tablets taken orally with no need for injections.
How effective are the new treatments 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 depend on your own personal situation.
What are the treatment side-effects?
All 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.
Last review 18 March 2019
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 C virus infection: a consensus statement (September 2018). Gastroenterological Society of Australia, 2017. Accessed 25.10.17. https://www.hepatitisaustralia.com/guidleines/
General Statement for Drugs for the Treatment of Hepatitis C. http://www.pbs.gov.au/healthpro/explanatory-notes/general-statement-pdf/general-statement-hepatitis-c.pdf