Treatment for hepatitis C

Maviret

Maviret is now fully funded for people living with hepatitis C.

Maviret is a prescription medicine containing a combination tablet of 100mg of glecaprevir and 40mg of pibrentasvir. It is used to treat chronic (long-lasting) hepatitis C virus (HCV) in adults. It belongs to a group of medicines called direct-acting antiviral agents. Ask your doctor if Maviret is right for you.

Before taking Maviret, ensure you tell your doctor if you:

  • Have or have had liver problems other than hepatitis C infection, HIV infection, hepatitis B infection or a liver or kidney transplant.
  • Are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed.
  • Are taking medicines containing atorvastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, lovastatin, carbamazepine, ciclosporin, darunavir, lopinavir, ritonavir, efavirenz, dabigatran, digoxin, ethinyloestradiol, fluindione, warfarin or other vitamin K antagonists.
  • Notice anything that is making you feel unwell. Some of the more common side effects of Maviret include extreme tiredness, headaches and nausea.

Liver assessment before treatment

Everyone should have a Fibroscan before having treatment for hepatitis C. It is important to know how much scar tissue or damage is present.

If there is mild or moderate scarring in the liver:

  • Then your treatment can be supervised in the community.
  • After successful treatment, no further follow-up is needed.
  • After successful treatment, the scar tissue in the liver will reduce over time.

However, if severe scar tissue (cirrhosis) is present in the liver:

  • You should be cared for in a specialist clinic.
  • The specialist will supervise your treatment.
  • After treatment, you should stay under specialist follow-up. This is because there is a risk of developing liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) even many years after the virus has been cured.

If the Fibroscan test was unsuccessful, you should be referred to a specialist to assess your liver prior to treatment.

After treatment

Being ‘cured’ of the hepatitis C virus means having a sustained virological response (SVR), which is when the virus cannot be detected three months after treatment. This is a complete cure from hepatitis C, as being free of the virus six months after treatment means it is unlikely the virus will ever return and the liver damage from hepatitis C will have been stopped. However, you are not immune from hepatitis C and you can become reinfected if exposed to the virus again.

If your treatment was successful and your liver is healthy (no cirrhosis), you will not need further follow-up. It is important to maintain a good diet and a healthy lifestyle. Clearing the virus this allows your liver time to recover. Your community nurse and/or hospital staff will talk to you about how you can stay healthy.

For more information about finishing treatment, read the article ‘So you’ve finished treatment… now what?‘ from issue 6 of Talking Hep C.

© The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand 2016