From March 2016, new medicines known as direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) became available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia. These new medicines are highly effective for most people, have less side-effects and are taken for a shorter time. The new medicines have proven to be > 90% effective in curing hep C. Treatment will usually be for a period of 8 to 12 weeks, but may be for up to 24 weeks for some people. The 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. If you have a less common genotype, you may need to use a combination of the new and older medicines such as interferon. In this case, you will usually be referred to a liver specialist to find out the best treatment option. As newer medicines become available, it is likely the need to check genotype and use the older medicines will decrease, making treatment for all people with hep C much simpler.
The following DAA medicines are currently available in Australia on the PBS:
- Daklinza® (daclatasvir)
- Harvoni® (sofosbuvir + ledipasvir)
- Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir)
- Ibavyr® (ribavirin)
- Zepatier® (grazoprevir + elbasvir)
- Epclusa® (sofosbuvir + velpatasvir)
- Maviret® (glecaprevir + pibrentasvir)
- Vosevi® (sofosbuvir + velpatasvir + voxilaprevir)
The choices of drugs is changing so the latest medical advice as to the best choice for you should always be sought.