Some HCV medications associated with serious liver injury


The Food and Drug Administration has warned that certain hepatitis C virus medications have led to rare instances of worsening liver function or liver failure.

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Many of the affected patients had signs or symptoms of moderate to severe liver impairment (Child-Pugh class B or C), and given that these medications – glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (Mavyret), elbasvir/grazoprevir (Zepatier), and sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir (Vosevi) – are not indicated for such patients, they should not have been prescribed in the first place, the FDA noted in the drug safety communication. Some cases had other preexisting risk factors, such as liver cancer, alcohol abuse, or serious medical illnesses associated with liver problems.

In most cases, impairment or decompensation occurred within the first 4 weeks of starting treatment, and symptoms resolved or new-onset worsening of liver function improved after stopping. These medicines have been widely used and, among patients with no or mild liver impairment, have been shown to be safe and effective.

Health care professionals should continue prescribing these medicines as indicated; they should assess patients at baseline for severity of liver disease and other risk factors and closely monitor these patients after for signs and symptoms of worsening liver function. Patients should be aware that the risk of injury is rare and continue taking prescribed medicines; if they develop fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, yellow eyes or skin, or light-colored stools, they should talk with their health care professional but should continue taking the medications in question until instructed to do otherwise.

The full communication is available on the FDA website and includes more facts about these drugs and information for patients and health care professionals.

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