Harvoni Side Effects Long Term
Before we jump in to the details of these side effects of Harvoni long term.
Harvoni is direct acting antiviral that treats hepatitis C
Its a combination drug, ledipasvir 90mg and sofosbuvir 400mg, also called generic Harvoni.
It was made available in 2014 by the manufacturer Gilead Sciences.
Warning: you should not drink alcohol while you are on Harvoni treatment.
Often it was prescribed for HCV genotypes 1, 4, 5 or 6.
Usually to treat chronic hepatitis C (sometimes acute HCV cases).
What that means is someone with a viral load of 800,000 virus parts per ml has chronic hepatitis C.
If you don’t have that kind of viral load, most probably your doctor will not prescribe hepatitis C treatment.
First reason is its too expensive, so the doctor usually delays treatment.
That’s the protocol to follow from insurance companies.
So, in a way we can’t really blame the doctors.
As of 2021, more people are getting approved for hep C meds.
That is good news, compared to just a few years ago.
I guess the insurance companies got sick of the lawsuits for not providing life saving treatment.
Its time for us to look at some numbers.
That will give us a better idea on the dangers of Harvoni if any.
What does the FDA say about long term side effects of Harvoni?
Are these side effects long lasting or they just last a few weeks or months after treatment.
From clinical studies we have found there are really no significant side effects.
However, that is not to say there are none.
Drugs interactions and contraindications do vary from individual to individual.
Most drug interactions, after clinical trials, usually don’t harm the person taking them.
If they did, our FDA would not approve them, for the most part.
*Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir) and Sovaldi (sofosbuvir 400mg) have been approved for pediatric patients.
So, with that said the long term effects of Harvoni or little to none for most patients.
We still believe its up to your healthcare team to determine if and when you should take Harvoni.
Risk versus rewards based on your overall health status.
What is more dangerous, Harvoni or Ibuprofen?
Your gut instinct would say Harvoni.
In the US, 16,000 people died from taking the over the counter pain killer ibuprofen in 2020.
The point is modern medicine can be fatal, for a few.
Again, this is all relative to the number of people that take ibuprofen
Millions of people across the US take ibuprofen everyday.
FDA is not going to ban ibuprofen for a small number of people that die from improper use and abuse.
Any medication that adversely affects large numbers in clinical trials, will not be approved by the FDA.
What does the data suggest about harmful effects of Harvoni?
We have to look at all the data before we make the decision to take Harvoni.
So, its not just black and white.
A report by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), in 2016, found that 524 cases of liver failure (121 cases from Harvoni) were due to direct acting antivirals.
Harvoni contributed to severe liver injury for 1054 cases.
FDA has stated that these findings are not conclusive.
And that should not influence prescribing Harvoni.
How many deaths from hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C kills about 400,000 people a year around the world.
It kills more than any other infectious disease on the planet.
Most people die from liver cancer or cirrhosis of the liver.
Often times, Harvoni and other direct acting antivirals are not prescribed.
If and when it is prescribed, it maybe too late and Harvoni can’t do the job.
The liver damage maybe irreversible.
Yes, time is of the essence for many people with compensated and decompensated cirrhosis.
Many factors are involved and its the doctors job to make the call.
Sometimes, the decision to go ahead and take the medicine works out.
In other situations it doesn’t, unfortunately.
That’s the sad price we have to pay as friends & family.
Not treating hepatitis C has a big affect on the liver and may cause cirrhosis.
Screening for hepatitis C for baby boomers and those in high risk communities should be mandated in policy.
Only then we can prevent fatalities due to complications of hepatitis C.
Note: If you experience any side effects from Harvoni or any hepatitis C medications that feel overwhelming, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Most Common Harvoni Side Effects Long Term
- Lack of sleep
- Loss of strength
Although there are some common side effects while taking Harvoni, many of the patients in the clinical trials were taking it with Ribavirin.
- Throughout the trials, studies show that patients taking Ribavirin are more likely to have side effects.
- There has been thousands of Harvoni users that claimed they had few side effects if any.
- The percentage of patients that discontinue treatment due to intensity of side effects is less than 1%.
- Mild depression
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble concentrating (Brain fog)
- Feeling of discouragement
Headaches & Dizziness
Headaches are the most common side effect noted by patients who take Harvoni.
Up to 29% of patients have experienced headaches, but some say they are fairly mild.
Dizziness from taking the drug is not as common, only affecting around 1% to 10%.
Physical Weakness & Fatigue
These are some of the most commonly reported effects that can be experienced.
Asthenia (physical weakness) is the most common of all side effects.
Reportedly around 39% of patients have experienced asthenia during treatment, while only 18% had a feeling of fatigue or tiredness.
Coughing & Dyspnea
Up to 11% of patients have experienced coughing.
Dyspnea (trouble breathing) is reported in 1% to 10%.
Insomnia, Irritability & Depression
Depression is not very common, but has been reported during clinical trials.
Only 1% reported having a feeling of emptiness or depression.
Many patients who did experience these feelings also battled with depression in the past.
Inability to sleep (insomnia) and irritability are known to be more common, but still reported in as little as 3% to 6%.
Nausea & Diarrhea
Nausea and diarrhea are more common side effects of Harvoni, but it only affects about 3% to 7%. Rates of people who experience this tend to rise with longer treatments.
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