Viekira Pak: New Hepatitis C Med Now Available

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Viekira Pak was approved by the FDA on December 19, 2015 as the newest treatment for chronic hepatitis C (genotype 1), and is already available to patients. Genotype 1 is the most common in the US, affecting around 75% of Americans with the virus.

Were there any special circumstances for the approval of Viekira Pak?

Yes. Viekira Pak was designated a breakthrough therapy. That means the approval process could be completed faster than usual.

Viekira Pak received this special treatment because it is used to treat a serious condition, hepatitis C, and if approved would provide significant improvement in safety and effectiveness.

What are the other new treatment options for hepatitis C?
Olysio (simeprevir), Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), and Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) were also approved near the end of 2014. All are considered more effective than previous treatments, and all are very expensive.

Be aware that your insurance company may cover only one of these newer hepatitis C medications. For example, Express Scripts is covering only Viekira Pak. This may be good or bad news for you. In this case, Express Scripts is covering Viekira even for patients with less severe symptoms, but limiting choices for you and your prescriber.

What medications are in the combination Viekira Pak?

The Viekira Pak has two types of table with a total of four active ingredients.

The pink tablet within the Pak contains ombitasvir (12.5 mg), paritaprevir (75mg), and ritonavir (50mg). The second beige tablet contains just dasabuvir (250 mg).

How is Viekira taken?

The Viekira tablets are taken with meals as follows:

How does Viekira Pak work?
Viekira Pak is the only FDA-approved regimen that contains 3 distinct mechanisms of action or ways that attack the hepatitis C virus at various stages in its lifecycle to stop it from multiplying.

What are the most common side effects of Viekira Pak?

The most common side effects of Viekira Pak include itching, nausea, feeling tired, feeling weak or lacking energy, and trouble sleeping.

Who should not use Viekira Pak?
Viekira Pak is not recommended for patients whose liver cannot function properly (also known as decompensated cirrhosis).

Are there any Viekira Pak support programs?

Yes. Viekira Pak has a patient support program known as proCeed which can also offer copay assistance for eligible patients.

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