Sofosbuvir I Latest Cure for Hepatitis C Patients

SOFOSBUVIR PILL TREATMENT

Sofosbuvir is a novel drug that is used to cure Hepatitis C. The drastic advantage Sofosbuvir brings is that it is the first all-oral treatment for Hep C patients. sofosbuvir mechanism of action

 

KEY ADVANTAGES OF SOFOSBUVIR:

  • High Cure Rate (around 90%)
  • All-Oral (no injections)
  • Faster Treatment
  • No known resistance (as in the case with interferon)

 

Here is a quick look at Sofosbuvir costs across the world:

Country
Price per 12 week treatment
Commentary
USA $84,000 USA has the highest price in the world
Canada $55,000 35% lower price than in USA
UK £35,000 / $55,000 Readily available
Germany €60,000 / $75,000 Readily available
France €56,000 / $70,000 Readily available
Brazil $7000* *Government opted negotiation price
India $900* *Promised by Gilead Sciences; Sovaldi's producer
Egypt $900 (with insurance)
$6,000 (without insurance)
Currently lowest available price in the world

Before Sofosbuvir the existing treatment consisted of interferon and antiviral drug ribavirin. The problem with interferon is that it has to be administered directly into the bloodstream with the use of syringe. In addition, interferon is also considered responsible for majority of side effects connected with Hepatitis C treatment. Treatment could last up to a whole year.

Sofosbuvir, on the other hand, can be used to treat different kinds of Hepatitis C without having the interferon related side effects. Ribavirin is used in combination with Sofosbuvir to enhance the Hep C treatment. Studies have shown that Sofosbuvir can also heal patients who developed resistance to existing Hep C treatments such as interferon. This new treatment lasts from 12 to 24 weeks and has been clinically proven to work in 90% of cases tested.

HEPATITIS C

To put Sofosbuvir in perspective, one has to know a thing or two about Hepatitis C. Two words are connected with any hepatitis, namely VIRUS and LIVER.

Sofosbuvir

Hepatitis C is a viral disease affecting the liver. It is usually without symptoms, which makes it difficult to detect and diagnose. Upon detecting it, the most effective treatment is vital – and here Sofosbuvir comes in as a life-saver. In absence of treatment, the Hepatitis C Virus scars the liver, which leads to liver cirrhosis – a disease often associated with chronic alcoholism. This can eventually lead to liver failure, for which liver transplant is the only treatment. The newly developed drug is designed to heal this potentially life-threatening disease.

HOW HEPATITIS C DIAGNOSIS BEGINS

The first thing a doctor suspecting Hep C infection will do is order blood work. This will tell him if antibodies against HCV are present in the bloodstream via ELISA test. The problem here is that in most cases antibodies appear 2-3 months after the infection, in some cases even after half a year. So if you don’t have antibodies that does not necessarily mean that you don’t have Hep C. On the other hand, if you have antibodies, that does not necessarily mean you have Hep C – this is in the case when the immune system successfully fought of the infection, and all that remained are the antibodies in the bloodstream. That’s why when test on antibodies is positive, a doctor will order PCR test to detect Hepatitis C virus in bloodstream. For this purposes test were developed that can give the information in under 30 minutes.

Here is a Hepatitis C patient testiment.

 I am tired all the time. I have stomach pains. Feel shortness of breath often. I have a metallic taste in my mouth all the time. I am afraid family might get it, although I’ve been told that it has to be blood-to-blood contact. I still feel like I am harbouring a dangerous monster.

This patient is well aware of the problem he’s having, the next step is to correctly diagnose Hepatitis C with medical test – read more about diagnostics tests for Hep C.

TREATMENT OF HEP C

Since the market release of Sofosbuvir on 6th of December 2013, there are two viable treatments for Hepatitis C.

1. HEPATITIS C TREATMENT WITH INTERFERON

Interferon treatment is the golden standard for Hepatitis C treatment since the late 1980s.

2. HEPATITIS C TREATMENT WITH SOFOSBUVIR

Sofosbuvir in the latest medicine for Hepatitis C. It is the first all-oral treatment for Hep C, taken together with Ribavirin. Treatment with Sofosbuvir lasts for 12 to 24 weeks, which is half the time of the treatment with interferon. The cure rate is about 90% which is a drastic increase from 50-60% with interferon.

FDA APPROVAL – SOVALDI PILL

The first Sofosbuvir drug Sovaldi by Gilead Sciences was approved by FDA on 6th of December 2013. It was registered to be used for chronic hepatitis C infection, combined with other antivirals such as Ribavirin. This regiment  is the first one that is all-oral because the most basic treatment does not include interferon, an antiviral drug that must be injected.

Here is a video by Joe Galati MD that will change your perspective on Hepatitis C big time:

Depending on the type of chronic hep C, different kinds of treatment regiments are used.

For genotype 2 chronic hep C a mixture of Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) and Ribavirin are used, with treatment duration of 12 weeks.

For genotype 3 the same mixture is used for 24 weeks.

For genotype 1 and genotype 4 chronic hepatitis C Interferon is added to the mixture and the treatment last for 12 weeks.

As you see, the treatment with Sorosbuvir drug lasts half as much time as previous treatment based only on Ribavirin and Interferon. The usual dosage is 400 mg Sovaldi pill taken orally once per day for the recommended period of time.

You can see the timeline Sofosbuvir went through to finally get to the hepatitis patients.

POTENTIAL DRUG INTERACTIONS

Majority of drugs exhibit drug interaction and Sofosbuvir is not an exception. There are predominately two ways other drugs can effect Sovaldi pill – they can increase or decrease Sofosbuvir action. If the drug action is decrease the pill will not heal the Hep C as effectively. On the other hand, increase in Sovaldi’s action may lead to more side effects of the drug. Below is a table that reveals which drugs interact with Sofosbuvir.

Interacting drug
Effect on Sofosbuvir
Treatment significance
Antiepilepic drugs (carbamazepine, phenytoin) Decreases Sofosbuvir concentration Reduces Sovaldi's therapeutic effect
Antimycobacterials associated with tuberculosis treatment (rifampin) Decreases Sofosbuvir concentration Reduces Sovaldi's therapeutic effect
Herbal Suppliments (St. John's wort) Decreases Sofosbuvir concentration Reduces Sovaldi's therapeutic effect
HIV drugs (tipranavir) Decreases Sofosbuvir concentration Reduces Sovaldi's therapeutic effect

SIDE EFFECTS

With mixture Sofosbuvir + Ribavirin the most common side effect was fatigue and headaches, which effected more than 20% of test subjects. Adding Interferon to the mixture to treat genotype 1 and 4 Hepatitis C caused, in addition to fatigue and headaches, insomnia, anemia and nausea. This adverse effects were also seen in more than 20% of test subjects. Notably, without Interferon, certain adverse effect, such as insomnia and nausea, were found to be less frequent. On the other hand, clinical studies have shown that fatigue and headaches, normally associated with Interferon Hep C treatment, are less frequent and less severe.

MECHANISM OF ACTION

Sofosbuvir acts by inhibiting the replication of RNA polymerase which is vital for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) to grow. Without the ability of the virus to grow, the immune system will be able to fight the infection of in majority of cases, thereby healing a Hepatitis C patient.

Biologically Sofosbuvir mimics a chemical that virus uses to construct its own RNA polymerase of. When Sofosbuvir is incorporated in RNA polymerase construction, it prevent further construction – therefore the virus is stuck with useless half-constructed RNA polymerase. With such a problem, the Hep C virus is unable to replicate and is destroyed by our immune system.

COST OF HEPATITIS C TREATMENT WITH SOFOSBUVIR

Sofosbuvir

Sovaldi is a newly developed drug that just got approved by the FDA. The prices of healing regiment of this arguably most effective hepatitis C treatment are exceptionally high. The price present in world media is that a 12 week treatment costs $84,000, while a 24 week treatment cost astonishing $164,000. However, the prices in UK are supposed to be around £35,000 for 12 week treatment.

On the other hand, there is a pressure to reduce the price of Sofosbuvir cost by both medical professionals and patients alike. Gilead Sciences, the Sovaldi manufacturer, is known for it’s affordable HIV treatment for patients in third world countries. Accordingly, the company reported that they are in talks with many Indian generic companies. The idea is that by hiring them they could lower the costs of production and thereby lower the price of Sovaldi treatment in developing markets. Expected price ranges from high hundreds to low thousands of US dollars.

 

 


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