New Hepatitis C Med Epclusa Now Approved

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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More and more new hepatitis C medications are being approved at a faster rate than ever thanks to the FDA’s Priority Review program. New approvals over the past few years include Sovaldi, Harvoni, Viekira Pak.

This is great news, as it means there are more effective options than ever out there to treat hepatitis C—and the most recent addition, Epclusa (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir), is another first of its kind treatment.

What is Epclusa used for?
Epclusa is a combination medication for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in adults. It’s effective against hepatitis c genotypes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.

How is Epclusa taken?

The recommended dose of Epclusa is one tablet, taken once daily with or without food.

How will Epclusa be available?
Epclusa will be available as a / combination tablet.

What are the side effects of Epclusa?

The most common side effects associated with Epclusa include headache and fatigue.

When will Epclusa be available?
Epclusa is in pharmacies now.

Is there anything unique about Epclusa?

Yes. Epclusa is the first medication approved to treat all 6 genotypes of Hepatitis C with one single tablet. Epclusa is also the first single-tablet regimen for genotypes 2 and 3 without the need of ribavirin—meaning you only need to take a single pill.

Who will benefit most from using Epclusa?

Patients with genotypes 2 or 3. Again, these types of hepatitis C have traditionally required ribavirin or multiple other drugs.

Will Epclusa be a specialty medication like other hepatitis C medications?

Yes, Epclusa will be considered a specialty medication. At this time, the nation’s largest independent specialty pharmacy, Diplomat, will be able to dispense Epclusa.

For more information on what a specialty medication is please see our previous articles Specialty Pharmacy and Specialty Medications: What You Should Know and What Makes Specialty Drugs Special?

How much will Epclusa cost?

Gilead has priced a 12-week regimen of Epclusa to cost $74,760. The cost of Epclusa is in-line with, if not a little less than, the other 12-week Hepatitis C medication regimens currently on the market such as Sovaldi and Harvoni which cost $84,000 and $94,500 respectively.

Gilead, the manufacturer of Epclusa (and Harvoni), also offers a co-pay card. If you are eligible, you may pay no more than $5 per fill.

Want more information on Epclusa?

Check out the press release from the manufacturer Gilead here.

You can also find the announcement from the FDA here.

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