Epclusa approved to treat chronic hepatitis C

The combination drug treats 6 strains of chronic hepatitis C.
The combination drug treats 6 strains of chronic hepatitis C.

HealthDay News — The combination drug Epclusa has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat the 6 major strains of chronic hepatitis C virus.

Epclusa combines sofosbuvir, FDA-approved in 2013, and the new drug velpatasvir. For patients with moderate-to-severe cirrhosis, Epclusa is approved to be used in combination with ribavirin. Epclusa also is approved for use in patients who haven't developed cirrhosis, the agency said Tuesday in a news release.

Epclusa was evaluated in clinical trials involving 1,558 patients. Up to 99% of participants given the drug had no virus detected in the blood 12 weeks after treatment, the FDA said. The most common side effects reported were headache and fatigue. The drug's label warns that Epclusa, when used with certain other drugs, including amiodarone, could lead to symptomatic bradycardia.

"This approval offers a management and treatment option for a wider scope of patients with chronic hepatitis C," Edward Cox, MD, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

Epclusa is produced and marketed by Gilead Sciences, based in Foster City, Calif.

Reference

  1. FDA approves Epclusa for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection [news release]. Silver Springs, MD: US Food and Drug Administration. Published June 28, 2016. Updated June 30, 2016. Accessed July 5, 2016.
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