Treatment

How Do I Take These Medications

Below you will find recommended dosing instructions for these medications, which you can use as a guideline.  However, people’s circumstances differ so it’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding how and when to take your medications.

Pegylated interferon

Pegylated interferon is a solution taken once a week as an injection under the skin.

Ribavirin

This is a pill taken twice a day by mouth.

Ribavirin can cause birth defects and must not be taken by pregnant women or the male partners of pregnant women. You must take extreme care to avoid getting pregnant during treatment and for six months following treatment. You and your partner should use two forms of birth control during this period. For example, a man could use a condom and a woman could use a diaphragm or birth control pills.

However, if you are on triple therapy with one of the protease inhibitors (i.e., ribavirin, peg-interferon and a protease inhibitor) you cannot use any hormonal birth control because the protease inhibitors stop hormonal birth control from working well. These include:

  • Birth control pills
  • Uterine implants
  • Depo-Provera injections
  • Vaginal rings

In this case, you would need to use two non-hormonal forms of birth control, like a condom and diaphragm plus spermicidal jelly, during treatment and the six months following treatment.

HCV protease inhibitors

The protease inhibitors are always taken in combination with peg-interferon and ribavarin therapy.  They cannot be used alone.

  • Boceprevir (brand name Victrelis): The recommended dose of boceprevir is 800 mg.  Take four 200-mg capsules three times a day (every 7 to 9 hours) with food.
  • Telaprevir (brand name Incivek): The recommended dose of telaprevir is 1123 mg.  Take three 375-mg tablets twice a day (every 10-14 hours) with a high-fat food like peanut butter, ice cream or whole milk.
  • Simeprevir (brand name Olysio): The recommended dose of simeprevir is 150 mg.  Take one 150-mg capsule once a day with food.

HCV polymerase inhibitor

  • Sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi): The recommended dose of sofosbuvir is 400 mg.  Take one 400-mg tablet once a day with or without food.  Sofosbuvir is taken in combination with ribavirin or in combination with peg-interferon and ribavirin.   It cannot be used alone.

It’s important to take all these medications exactly as prescribed. That means taking the right dose of each of the drugs for the full duration that your doctor prescribes them. Missing doses, even just a few, can lead to your body developing a resistant virus that will no longer be treatable by your medications. If you experience serious side effects or complications from other health conditions, contact your doctor before stopping any of these medications. Your doctor will determine if you need to stop treatment.