Gilead Harvoni HCV treatment Cost, Side effects, Availability

Learn all about (HCV) treatment with new Gilead medicine along with its cost/price, side effects and availability in USA, UK, Canada, Europe, Australia, India and Pakistan.

Hepatitis C is a disease of viral origin that affects the liver. This contagious disease is usually acquired when an individual comes into contact with infected fluids like blood. This pathology is caused by the C virus. This disease is a burden on the health system because it usually leads to severely debilitating disease like liver failure and it is a significant contributor of cases of in the world.

There have been several modes of treatment which have been introduced to curb this viral infection. Ribavirin and interferon-alpha were the preferred modes of treatment but their side effects of were so severe. A breakthrough by Gilead Sciences in the month of October 2014, has led to the introduction of a novel drug known as Harvoni: this drug is a combination of two compounds, sofosbuvir and ledipasvir.

Havoni HCV Treatment.
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Gilead Harvoni for Hepatitis C treatment

Gilead Harvoni mdecine is available in the form of tablet that are orange in color and coated with a film. Every tablet is made up of two compounds “sofosbuvir” which contributes 400mg same as in Sovaldi while the second compound known as ledipasvir contributes 90 mg to the tablet.

The Harvoni tablet is taken orally and the suggested dosing is that the tablet is taken once a day. There are no studies that indicate that food has a negative or additive effect on the therefore the drug can be taken before meals or after the meals.

Harvoni Pharmacokinetics

The highest concentration of the drug is achieved after about four hours after the administration. The drug has a high affinity for plasma proteins and this means that care should be taken if the drug is administered with other drugs like phenytoin that bind to plasma proteins to avoid drug interactions.

The drug is broken down from the body by the liver enzymes that are responsible for detoxification of drugs. Several enzymes that are members of the cytochrome family are responsible for the breakdown. The enzymes that breakdown the enzyme are of great concern because there are commonly drugs like antacids and some antifungals are potent enzyme inhibitors. This means that the enzymes responsible for detoxifying the drug are inhibited. Care is needed when this drugs are given together with Harvoni because these drugs will lead to the accumulation of the Harvoni drug which may precipitate further complications in the human body.

The drug is eliminated from the body majorly by urine and feces. This is important because in patients with any disease of the kidney, careful monitoring is required when they are put on the drug.

Harvoni Mechanism of Action

Hepatitis C virus, the causative agent of hepatitis C belongs to the Flaviviridae Family and there at least six genotypes of the virus that have been documented. In order to replicate in the body, the hepatitis C virus requires a protein known as nonstructural protein 5A. Ledipasvir, one of the constituents of the drug, targets this protein with a view of stopping the multiplication of the virus in the body. Sofosbuvir, the other constituent of the drug actively targets the nonstructural protein 5B. Sofosbuvir is converted to a triphosphate in the body and the nonstructural protein 5B incorporates the triphosphate molecule into the RNA of the virus and this leads to the destruction of the virus because the RNA that is formed is defective.

Harvoni Cost, Side Effects and Availability

This novel drug is expensive because of the reduced side effects and the increased efficacy it has against this deadly virus. The cost is a disadvantage to those patients who are put on long term treatment because most of the health insurance companies would not want to incur such high costs, however the aim of the company is to reduce the standard regimen from twelve weeks to eight weeks while increasing the levels of efficacy in order to accommodate as many patients as possible.

Gilead Harvoni Price

There are two recommended forms for the regime at the moment. The standard regimen takes a period of twelve weeks while the longer regimen takes a period of twenty-four weeks. The standard twelve week therapy costs $94,500. This implies that a patient on this mode of treatment will spend an average of $ 1,125 every week which means that the cost of each pill is $1,125 and this is the amount that will be spent in a day.

Harvoni Side Effects

It is important to accept that drugs usually have side effects and Harvoni is not an exception to this rule.

  1. Harvoni Side Effects: Nausea and diarrhea

    Since the drug is taken orally, side effects that are related to the gastrointestinal tract are almost inevitable. Nausea and diarrhea are the most common side effects just like Sovaldi that have been reported and documented. The chances of experiencing these side effects usually increases with the duration of treatment. Most of the patients who received the drug over a period of twenty-four weeks were more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal problems as opposed to the patients who were on a twelve week regimen.

  2. Harvoni Side Effects: Headaches

    The central nervous system is also affected by the drug. Headache was the second most common side effect that was reported by patients that were on this drug. The chances of suffering from headaches significantly increased when the regimen was increased.

  3. Harvoni Side Effects: Insomnia

    Insomnia was another side effect that was documented although it was one of the rare effects that was associated with the drug.

  4. Harvoni Side Effects: Fatigue

    Fatigue was the most common side effect that was reported. Over a fifth of the patients on a twenty-four week regimen experienced headache while a slightly less than a fifth of the patients on an eight week regimen complained of headache.

  5. Harvoni Side Effects: Lipase and Creatinine Increase

    Liver function tests that were performed in patients who were on Harvoni treatment showed a marked increase in the level of activity of lipase and creatinine kinase while levels of bilirubin were also significantly elevated.

The side effects are less severe when compared to the side effects of its predecessors: ribavirin and interferon-alpha. Regardless of the side effects, the benefits of the drug outweigh by the far the consequences of not using the drug.

Harvoni Availability

Currently, there is no authorized dealer, distributor or medicine company in Asian countries for this medicines like Sovaldi 400mg. Some Fraudulent online pharmacies may attempt to sell an illegal generic version of Harvoni. These medications may be counterfeit and potentially unsafe. If you want to purchase this medicine then contact with government authorized medicines importers because they have warranty to purchase such kind of medicines legally.

About Dr. Arslan Malik

Dr. Arslan Malik
Arslan Malik is noted health blogger, public health activist, aspiring dreamer and avid reader. With doctor in pharmacy, he has worked closely with various health organizations, multinational pharmaceuticals and community health programs. Beside his professional practice, he has an avid interest in writing and teaching Physiology and Medicines. He covers variety of topics from Nutrition and Natural Care to Diseases, Treatments, Drug Interactions, Preventive Care and Clinical Research.

17 comments

  1. Pervaiz Akhter Minhas

    Dr insist to purchase same name medicine to start treatment,

  2. Pervaiz Akhter Minhas

    Dear Sir, pls advices how I will purchase Harvoni ledipasvir
    Sofosbuvir in karachi, Dr suggest for six months treatment
    But difficult to search or purchase medicine from karachi,
    Pls advices, thanks in advance for your support,

  3. sohaib

    Hi Sir Adnan Malik,
    My mother is diagnosed hepatitis c and she is on dialysis . our doctor recommended interferon which caused her savior health problem and she ended up spending 4 nights in hospital.
    i am researched on interned and heard about this new and better treatment for hepatitis c which is know as HARVONI please let me know from where i can get these and for how much.
    thank you very much

    • Adnan Malik
      Adnan Malik

      @Sohaib,
      Your doctor is either not updated or not ready to give up the commission. Harvoni is not available in Pakistan yet, meanwhile go for Sovaldi 400mg.

  4. Usman Ghani

    Hi, i m 28years old and my genotype is 1. So please recommend me a proper tre’mnt which one is better sovaldi or harvoni.

    • Adnan Malik
      Adnan Malik

      Try Sovaldi and check the viral load response through PCR test after 3 months.

  5. arshadhussain

    i have hepetitius c with genotype 1 , i am working in ksa , first i made plan to take sovaldi tablets , for my case doctor in pakistan recommended sovaldi plus riveron plus interferon injection for three month,
    but now doctor recommended me to arrange harvani medicine only , it is advance version of sovaldi and no need interferon , please advise it is available in pakistan

    • Dr usman ghani

      It s not available in pakistan and its cost is too high bettet to go for previous treatment . Or if u can afford then take harvoni tablets from USA canada or india and england only.

  6. Jawad Ahmad

    Dear sir my pcr report is genotype 1a
    So please give me a good idea about the treatment of hepatitis c and soval d is very costly

    • Dr usman ghani

      Inj taget 180ug SC once per week for 12 weeks
      Tab novia 400mg 1+1+1 for 12 weeks
      Tab sofohil 400mg once daily for 12 weeks

  7. raja

    hi assa what are chance of availability of harvoni in paksitan i asked april t gilead company , told me it will be in end of 2015 .

  8. Mushtaq Ahmad

    Dear Sir,

    When HARVONI expected in pakistan. any idea of price in pakistan. will wait for this medicine or start treatment with sovalidi.

    • Adnan Malik
      Adnan Malik

      @Mushtaq, you are 56 and Genotype 4, right?
      Bro, my advice is don’t hold further and go for Sovaldi + Interferon + Ribavirin (Tripple Combo Therapy). Harvoni is currently approved for Genotype 1 patients only. Further more, Harvoni availability in Pakistan with Cheaper Price is not likely in near future. Please see Sovaldi FAQs Q/A # 5 for more details.

      • Ejaz

        Dear sir, I’ve been diagnosed with hepatitis C genotype 1. Please let me know how I can get Harvoni in Pakistan? I’ve also developed 2 liver tumors (hepatocellular carcinoma) and doctors recommended me a liver transplant. Kindly advise me if I should start treatment with solvaldi?

        • Adnan Malik
          Adnan Malik

          @Ejaz, Sovaldi is good for Hep-C treatment. But unfortunately in your case, you should immediately get cancer treatment e.g Carcinoma Targeted Chemotherapy or Liver Transplant.

          • Seng Oeung

            I have Hep-C and Geno type 6, So can I use Sovaldi or Harvoni?

          • Ejaz Ali

            Dear Sira Thank you so much for your response. I have had RFA treatment for both tumors & both are gone now alhamdulillah. I also completed Sovaldi+interferon treatment & my viral load came out undetectable. Now after 2 months of finishing my Sovaldi course I’m again getting a positive viral load for hepatitis c, genotype 1. Please let me know if I can somehow get Harvoni in Pakistan?

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