Harvoni contains sofosbuvir and ledipasvir which are antiviral drugs that stop the hepatitis C virus from spreading in your body. It is prescribed for adults and children who have chronic hepatitis C. It is vital for the children to be at least 12 years old and weigh at least 77 pounds before they can be given this medicine.
Harvoni is effective in treating specific genotypes of hepatitis C only in certain people. Do not use Harvoni if it has not been prescribed to you. Harvoni is also sometimes prescribed for people who have HIV, but it is not a treatment for AIDS or HIV.
If you see signs of allergic reaction to Harvoni such as difficulty in breathing, hives or swelling in the face contact your doctor immediately. Common side effects of Harvoni are:
- Feeling tired
The following worsening symptoms should be reported immediately to your doctor:
- Loss of appetite
- Clay-colored stools, dark urine
- Upper stomach pain
Sometimes Harvoni is prescribed with amiodarone which is a heart rhythm medicine. This combination can sometimes result in dangerous side effects in some patients. If you experience the following side effects while taking these two medicines, get immediate medical help:
- Memory problems
- Chest pain, very slow heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness, feeling lightheaded
- Extreme tiredness
How to use Harvoni
Harvoni is prescribed once daily with or without food. A standard course of Harvoni treatment takes three months, but for patients who have cirrhosis of the liver, the treatment may last six months. To get the maximum benefit, take Harvoni at the same time every day. Follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor to make the drug more effective.
Furthermore, it is possible that while you are taking Harvoni, you can still pass the Hepatitis C virus to another person. Follow the doctor’s orders regarding prevention and safety from the spread of HCV. Frequent blood tests may be prescribed by your doctor throughout the treatment to make sure that the virus has been eliminated.
Frequent liver function tests will also be prescribed by your physician during and after the treatments to make sure that you do not have a reoccurrence of hepatitis B. Your doctor will also recommend a combination of drugs to treat Hepatitis C. Make sure that you read the information leaflet of all the medicines and do not alter the dose of any medication without consulting with your doctor first.
Avoid using Harvoni if you are allergic to sofosbuvir or ledipasvir. Do not take Harvoni with ribavirin unless prescribed by your doctor as this combination is not safe for everyone. To counter any risks from the use of Harvoni, make sure that your doctor knows if you have the following conditions:
- Kidney disease
- Liver problems
- A heart rhythm problem
- HIV or AIDS
- If you have routine prothrombin time tests or INR, or if you take a blood thinner
Although Harvoni is not reported to cause any harm to an unborn baby, pregnant women should not use this medicine without consulting their doctor first.
Using Harvoni with ribavirin could cause birth disabilities and even death in an unborn baby. Therefore, use two forms of birth control when you are using this combination to avoid pregnancy irrespective of whether you are a man or a woman. Keep using the two forms of effective birth control for at least six months after the last dose of ribavirin. In case of pregnancy when either partner is using ribavirin, consult with your doctor right away.