Harvoni: A Breakthrough Treatment for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a chronic infection of the liver caused by a virus that can lead to serious complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. There are different types of hepatitis C virus, called genotypes, that vary in their response to treatment. Harvoni is a combination of two antiviral medicines, ledipasvir and sofosbuvir, that can cure hepatitis C in most patients with genotype 1, 4, 5 or 6 infection.

How does Harvoni work?

Harvoni works by blocking two proteins that the hepatitis C virus needs to multiply and infect new cells. Ledipasvir targets a protein called NS5A, while sofosbuvir blocks a protein called NS5B RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. By stopping these proteins, Harvoni prevents the virus from replicating and clears it from the body.

How is Harvoni used?

Harvoni is available as tablets and as granules in sachets. The tablets contain 90 mg of ledipasvir and 400 mg of sofosbuvir, while the granules contain different doses depending on the weight of the patient. Harvoni is taken once a day for 8, 12 or 24 weeks, depending on the genotype of the virus and the condition of the liver. Some patients may also need to take another medicine called ribavirin along with Harvoni.

What are the benefits of Harvoni?

Harvoni has been shown to be highly effective in curing hepatitis C in clinical trials involving thousands of patients. In most studies, around 94% to 99% of patients with genotype 1 infection had no sign of the virus in their blood 12 weeks after completing treatment with Harvoni alone. Ribavirin was not needed for most patients. Harvoni also cured most patients with genotype 4, 5 or 6 infection, as well as some patients with genotype 3 infection. Harvoni was also effective in patients who had cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or who had a liver transplant.

What are the side effects of Harvoni?

Harvoni is generally well tolerated and has few side effects. The most common side effects are headache, fatigue, nausea and diarrhea. These are usually mild and do not require stopping treatment. However, some serious side effects may occur in rare cases, such as hepatitis B virus reactivation (when the hepatitis B virus becomes active again in patients who had it before) or slow heart rate (when taken with a medicine called amiodarone). Therefore, patients should inform their doctor about their medical history and any other medicines they are taking before starting Harvoni.

Where can I buy Harvoni?

Harvoni is a prescription medicine that can only be obtained from a doctor who is experienced in treating hepatitis C. Harvoni is approved for use in many countries around the world, including the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan. However, the availability and cost of Harvoni may vary depending on the country and the health insurance system. The table below shows some examples of the price of Harvoni in different countries (as of October 2023).

CountryPrice (USD)Reference
United States$1,125GoodRx
Canada$600Canada Drugs Direct


Harvoni is a breakthrough treatment for hepatitis C that can cure most patients with a simple and convenient regimen of one pill, once a day for 8 to 24 weeks. Harvoni has few side effects and can be used in patients with different genotypes of the virus and different stages of liver disease. Harvoni is available in many countries, but the price may vary significantly depending on the region and the health insurance system. Patients who are interested in Harvoni should consult their doctor for more information and guidance.

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