What Medications are Used to Treat Hepatitis C?
Until fairly recently, there were only two drugs approved by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for treating Hepatitis C. These are:
- Pegylated interferon: Interferon is similar to a protein your body makes to fight off infection. Pegylated interferon is a long acting form of interferon. It can be used alone, but is almost always used with ribavirin.
- Ribavirin: This is used only in combination with interferon. It can never be used alone to treat Hepatitis C.
Combination therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin – often referred to as PEG/riba therapy – increases the chances of getting rid of the virus from your body.
In May 2011, the FDA approved two new medications that are part of a drug group called HCV protease inhibitors. These new drugs directly attack the Hepatitis C virus to stop it from growing. They are:
Each of these drugs must be used in combination with PEG/riba therapy; they cannot be used alone. Using PEG/riba plus one – not both – of these new drugs is called triple therapy.