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It's a momentous week for people with hepatitis C

Thursday 3 March, 2016 by Chris Enright

It's a momentous week for Victorians living with hepatitis C. As of 1 March, they have access to fast, effective treatment to cure the disease.

The four new breakthrough treatments have been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and are available for as little as $6.20 per prescription.

The news is significant for Cancer Council Victoria because viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and hepatitis C) is the leading cause of primary liver cancer. Curing hepatitis C will help to reduce the associated incidence of liver damage and liver cancer.

The revolutionary treatments will change the lives of all Victorians living with hepatitis C. It's a treatment option that is more effective, available and less invasive.

The new drugs eliminate the hepatitis C virus in 95 to 97 per cent of cases in as little as eight weeks and have few or no side effects.

Treatment regimens involve daily combinations of one to three of these drugs taken orally over a period of eight to 24 weeks.

This is a major change from just a few years ago, when hepatitis C treatment took six to 12 months, with toxic side effects and only a 50 per cent chance of a cure.

The breakthrough drugs could eliminate hepatitis C within a generation.

The medicines added to the PBS are:

  • sofosbuvir with ledipasvir (Harvoni)
  • sofosbuvir (Sovaldi)
  • daclatasvir (Daklinza), and
  • ribavirin (Ibavyr).

People with hepatitis C are encouraged to speak to their GP or specialist about their treatment options.

For further information visit: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hepatitis-c-faq


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