You may already be infected with hepatitis B (a virus that infects the liver and may cause severe liver damage) but not have any symptoms of the disease. In this case, taking the combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir may increase the risk that your infection will become more serious or life-threatening and you will develop symptoms. Tell your doctor if you have or ever had a hepatitis B virus infection. Your doctor will order a blood test to see if you have or have ever had hepatitis B infection. Your doctor will also monitor you for signs of hepatitis B infection during and for several months after your treatment. If necessary, your doctor may give you medication to treat this infection before and during your treatment with the combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir. If you experience any of the following symptoms during or after your treatment, call your doctor immediately: excessive tiredness, yellowing of the skin or eyes, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, pale stools, stomach pain, or dark urine.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain tests before, during, and after your treatment to check your body's response to the combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir.
Talk to your doctor about the risk(s) of taking the combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir.
Why is this medication prescribed?
The combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir is used alone or with ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere) to treat chronic hepatitis C (an ongoing viral infection that damages the liver). Sofosbuvir is in a class of antiviral medications called nucleotide hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS5B polymerase inhibitors. Velpatasvir is in a class of antiviral medications called HCV NS5A replication complex inhibitors. The combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir works by stopping the virus that causes hepatitis C from spreading inside the body.
How should this medicine be used?
The combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is taken usually with or without food once a day for 12 weeks. Take sofosbuvir and velpatasvir at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take sofosbuvir and velpatasvir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Continue to take sofosbuvir and velpatasvir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking sofosbuvir and velpatasvir without talking to your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking sofosbuvir and velpatasvir,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to sofosbuvir, velpatasvir, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in sofosbuvir and velpatasvir tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone, Pacerone); atorvastatin (Lipitor, in Caduet); carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Teril); digoxin (Lanoxin); efavirenz (Sustiva, in Atripla); oxcarbazepine (Oxtellar, Trileptal); phenobarbital; phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); proton-pump inhibitors such as dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), esomeprazole (Nexium, in Vimovo), lansoprazole (Prevacid, in Prevpac), omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), pantoprazole (Protonix), and rabeprazole (AcipHex): rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, Rifater); rifapentine (Priftin); rosuvastatin (Crestor); tenofovir DF (Viread, in Atripla, Complera, Stribild, Truvada, others); tipranavir (Aptivus) when taken with ritonavir (Norvir); and topotecan (Hycamtin). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with sofosbuvir and velpatasvir, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- if you are taking antacids, take them 4 hours before or 4 hours after sofosbuvir and velpatasvir.
- tell your doctor if you are taking a medication for indigestion, heartburn, or ulcers (H2 blockers) such as cimetidine, ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid, in Duexis) or nizatidine. Your doctor may tell you not to take these medications, or he may tell you take them 12 hours before or 12 hours after sofosbuvir and velpatasvir, or at the same time that you take sofosbuvir and velpatasvir.
- tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John's wort.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any type of liver problem other than hepatitis C and kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking sofosbuvir and velpatasvir, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Sofosbuvir and velpatasvir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- lack of energy
- feeling irritable
- feeling depressed
Sofosbuvir and velpatasvir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
- Epclusa® (as a combination product containing Sofosbuvir and Velpatasvir)