Sofosbuvir is intended for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infections. This medication helps lessen the amount of infection in your body. Wherein, it may help your liver recover. Chronic hepatitis C infection can cause serious liver problems such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. Sofosbuvir is used with other antiviral medications to lessen the amount of hepatitis C virus in the body and helps the immune system of the body fight the infection.
Hepatitis C causes liver inflammation that sometimes may lead to serious liver damage. This virus spreads over contaminated blood. Up to recently, the treatment of this disease mandates weekly injections and oral medications for those who couldn’t take because of other health problems or unacceptable side effects. Long-term infection with the hepatitis C virus is known as chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C is usually a silent infection for many years. Until the virus damages the liver, it is enough to cause the signs and symptoms of liver disease. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Bleeding easily
- Bruising easily
- Poor appetite
- Dark-colored urine
- Yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes
- Itchy skin
- Swelling in your legs
- Fluid build-up in your abdomen
- Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech
- Weight loss
- Spiderlike blood vessels on your skin
Hepatitis C infection is caused by the hepatitis C virus. The infection spreads when blood contaminated with the virus enters the bloodstream of an uninfected person.
Sofosbuvir is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This comes as a tablet for oral use. Each tablet is available in the dosage form of 400 mg.
How does Sofosbuvir work?
Sofosbuvir is a type of drug known as an antiviral. Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver and leads to liver damage. Once the virus is inside the liver cells it increases. Part of this procedure includes the virus making copies of its genetic material which is DNA and RNA.
DNA is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. An important property of DNA is that it can replicate or makes a copy of itself.
RNA is one of the all known forms of life. It plays an important role in regulating cellular processes from cell division, differentiation, and growth to cell aging and death.
This medication works by blocking the action of an enzyme called NS5B RNA-dependent RNA polymerase in the hepatitis C virus. In which the virus needs to grow. This stops the hepatitis C virus from increasing, which lowers the amount of hepatitis C virus in the liver. This helps to decrease liver damage and progresses or improves the function of the liver.
Sofosbuvir must be used in combination with other medicines that attack the hepatitis C virus in different ways. If this drug is used on its own, there is a high chance that the hepatitis C virus will become resistant to it.
How to use Sofosbuvir?
Sofosbuvir is to be taken by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food once a day. Take this prescription at around the same time every day. On your prescription label, carefully follow the directions and if there is any part you do not understand, ask your doctor to explain. Take this drug exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than it is prescribed by your doctor. If you vomit within two hours of taking a tablet you should take another one. If you vomit more than two hours after taking a tablet then you don’t need to take another tablet. This is because most of the dose of Sofosbuvir is absorbed within two hours of taking the tablet.
Continue to take Sofosbuvir even if you feel well. If Sofosbuvir is taken in combination with Ribavirin and Peginterferon Alfa, it is usually taken for 12 weeks. If Sofosbuvir is taken in combination with Ribavirin alone, it is usually taken for 12 – 24 weeks. The length of your treatment depends on how well you respond to the medication, on your condition, and whether you experience severe side effects. Do not stop taking Sofosbuvir, Peginterferon Alfa, or Ribavirin unless your doctor told you to do so.
What are the side effects of Sofosbuvir?
Common side effects:
- Decreased appetite
- Flu-like illness
- Joint pain
- Low blood cell count
- Low white blood cell count
This medication may as well cause severe depression and suicidal ideation. Let your doctor know if these occur.
Get emergency medical assistance or help right away if these signs of an allergic reaction occur:
- Hives or itching
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
Warnings and Precautions
- This medication can cause dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision and affect concentration in some people. You should take care when performing potentially hazardous activities such as driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine affects you. And make sure as well you can perform such activities safely.
- While you are taking this medication, your liver function and the amount of hepatitis C virus in your body should be regularly monitored. This will involve having blood tests before, during, and after treatment with Sofosbuvir.
- This medication can lessen the number of blood cells in your blood. Let your doctor know right away if you experience purple spots, unexplained bruising, sore throat or mouth, and fever while having this medication.
- Sofosbuvir should be used with caution in people who are infected with hepatitis B, with liver cirrhosis whose liver is not working well, and with severely decreased kidney function.
- People taking certain other medicines, women who are breastfeeding or pregnant, and people allergic to any ingredient of this medication should not take it.
- The safety and effectiveness of this drug in children aged less than 12 years have not yet been established. The manufacturer does not recommend it as well for this age group.
- If there are any signs of an overdose happen, call your doctor right away or call for medical help.