Home to Australia's first Take Home Naloxone Program. Check out "What's New" or email davidb@cahma.org.au for details.

    

n a v i g a t i o n


    
    

image one

    
    
    

Further Hep C information:

(right click to download)

Blood Awareness

Hep C in Australia

Hep C Treatment

Hep C Genotypes

How is Hep C Transmitted?

Safer Injecting Practices

Self Help Tips for the Management of Hep C

The Power of Language

What is Hep C?

EXIT

Blood Borne Viruses

Needle & Syringe Programs

Drug Treatments Safer Injecting
Hep A

Hep B

Hep C HIV

Hep C Treatments

Hep C Transmission


Hepatitis C Treatments.


On 1 March 2016, new Hepatitis C treatments became available in Australia under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This means that the new treatments are available in Australia at a hugely discounted rate.

These new treatments mark a major turning point in the fight to cure hep C for as many people as possible. The old interferon-based treatments had significant, and often debilitating side effects for many people. As a result, treatment uptake was very low.

These new Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA), interferon-free hep C treatments will enable Australia to take a major leap forward in curing hep C in many more people, more easily, and more quickly. The new treatments are one pill per day, usually for 2 or 3 months, depending on which genotype you have (or 4 months for people who have been unsuccessfully treated before).

If you want to be tested for Hepatitis C, you should visit your G.P. or one of the doctors on this list.

This link is for a factsheet about getting tested.

    

If you want treatment for your Hepatitis C, you should read on...

    

Checklist and Referral Form

These two documents are for taking to your doctor. They are a referral form and checklist for making sure you (and your doctor) have done everything needed to get the new medication. The first is the referral form, which your doctor needs to fill out. The second is a form for your doctor, outlining all the things s/he is likely to want to know. If you or your doctor have any questions which are not answered here, call us or come in to CAHMA and talk to a staff member. (You can right-click on these links to download them).

There is also a document for you, to let you know about the new treatments. It also tells you everything you have to do to get treated. (You can right-click on these links to download them).

    
    

The medicines now available on the PBS in Australia are:

Harvoni

(sofosbuvir/ledipasvir) for people with HCV genotype 1

Sovaldi and Daklinza

(sofosbuvir and daclatasvir) also for HCV genotype 1

Sovaldi and Ibavyr

(sofosbuvir and ribavirin) for people with HCV genotype 2

Sovaldi and Daklinza

(sofosbuvir and daclatasvir) for people with HCV genotype 3

Sovaldi and Ibavyr

(sofosbuvir and ribavirin) also for HCV genotype 3

Veikira Pak

(paritaprevir/ritonavir/ombitasvir and dasabuvir) for HCV genotype 1a & 1b

Sovaldi +Peg Int +Ibavyr

(sofosbuvir and Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin) for HCV genotypes 4 and 6

ZEPATIER

(grazoprevir and elbasvir (sometimes with Ribavirin)) for HCV genotypes 4 and 1

Epclusa

(sofosbuvir and velpatasvir (sometimes with Ribavirin)) for all HCV genotypes

People with genotypes 5 & 6 are sometimes treated with sofosbuvir taken with pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment.

They have more than a 90% chance of cure..

Other treatments are approved and available. You may be offered something other than what is indicated here.

You should trust your doctor and/or advising specialist to prescribe the best treatment for your situation.

The table above is summarised in the HCV Treatments Factsheet

    

Q's & A's

Q. How long will these new DAA treatments take?

Harvoni = 8 weeks for people with no prior treatment, no cirrhosis and viral load less than 6 million IU/mL

Harvoni = 12 weeks for people with no prior treatment, no cirrhosis and viral load more than 6 million IU/mL

Harvoni = 12 weeks for people with no prior treatment and cirrhosis

Harvoni = 24 weeks for people with prior treatment and cirrhosis

Sovaldi and Daklinza = 12 weeks (although likely longer for people with cirrhosis).

Sovaldi and Ibavyr = 12 weeks for people with genotype 2

Sovaldi and Ibavyr = 16 or 24 weeks for people with genotype 3

Veikira Pak (sometimes with Ribavirin) = 12 or 24 weeks for people with genotype 1

Sovaldi with Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin = (usually) 12 weeks for people with genotypes 4 and 6

Zepatier = 12 or 16 weeks for people with genotype 1 and 4

Epclusa = 12 weeks for people with all genotypes

Q. Why are the new medicines better than the older ones?

There are a number of significant benefits. The new medicines are far more effective resulting in a cure for more than 90-95% of people who take the treatment as prescribed.

They are taken as tablets (pills). As a result there is no longer a need for interferon injections for the vast majority of people with hep C in Australia

They have very few side effects, and these are mostly mild

They can be taken daily for 12 weeks for most people, and even as little as 8 weeks for some people

They do not require the use of pegylated interferon. They are interferon-free. Note that people with hep C genotypes 4 or 6 (less common in Australia) are still offered interferon-based combination treatment.

Q. Will other medicines be listed too?

There are other, newer, medicines currently being considered for PBS listing. Updates will be provided as details are finalised.

Q. When will the new medicines be available to Australians?

The new medicines are available on the PBS.

Q. Are they available from my GP?

GPs are able to prescribe these medicines after consultation with a specialist. Specialists are also able to prescribe the new medicines.

Q. Do you have to be very sick to access the new medicines?

No. Everyone who has been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C infection will be eligible to receive the new medicines regardless of their stage of disease.

Q. Will people who currently inject drugs be able to access the new medicines?

Yes. There will be no restrictions applied for people who inject drugs as they are a priority population for hepatitis C treatment.

Q. How much will the medicines cost me?

From 1 January 2016 the cost is $38.30 per month for general patients and $6.20 per month for concession patients.

However, NSW are awaiting confirmation that the NSW Ministry of Health will pay these co-payment costs, which would make treatments for people with hep C completely free (if you live in NSW).

Thanks to Hepatitis ACT, Hepatitis Australia, and Hepatitis NSW, from whose factsheets the information on this page is taken.

    

Links to further reading...

All you need to know about Fibroscans and Elastography (from Australian Family Physician Vol. 42, No. 6, june 2013)

Further pages discussing Hep C Transmission