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What is Harvoni?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Harvoni is a combination in a single tablet of two drugs, sofosbuvir and ledipasvir. Harvoni blocks proteins that the hepatitis C virus needs to multiply and spread. Harvoni is one of the recommended regimens for people with virus genotype 1, 4, 5, or 6 who have not yet been treated for hepatitis C. Harvoni is taken daily for 8 or 12 weeks. 

In one study, ledipasvir taken with sofosbuvir for 12 weeks lowered hepatitis C (HCV) viral load in 96% of people with both HCV and HIV infections. This study included people who had been previously treated for hepatitis C as well as people who had not. Treatment was about equally effective for virus genotypes 1 and 4.

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Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir) is a medication used to treat chronic hepatitis C infection, specifically caused by subtypes of the virus called genotypes 1, 4, 5 and 6. Harvoni is the first hepatits C medication to combine two drugs into the same pill. It's also the first hepatitis C treatment approved for use without interferon and ribavirin, two drugs that had long been a standard treatment for the infection. Both drugs in Harvoni stop the virus from multiplying, but in different ways. Sofosbuvir is also sold as Sovaldi, and is commonly used with other drugs to treat hepatitis C.

In clinical trials done prior to approval, 94% of those who took Harvoni for eight weeks and 96% of those who took it for 12 weeks were considered cured, because the virus was no longer detectable in their blood. Among people who didn't have cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver caused by the infection, 99% were cured after 12 weeks. The most common side effects were fatigue and headache. Harvoni is typically taken once a day with or without food, for eight to 24 weeks.

Harvoni is a new combination medication for chronic hepatitis C. It is two medicines, ledpasvir and sofubuvir, in one pill. It works by preventing the virus from replicating. It is indicated for the most common strain of the hepatitis C virus in North America, type 1, as well as less-common types 4, 5 and 6.

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