If you have hepatitis C, your doctor may recommend treatment with Harvoni. It’s a prescription medication used to treat certain forms of hepatitis C in adults and some children.

To learn more about how Harvoni is used to treat hepatitis C, see the section titled “Is Harvoni used for hepatitis C?” below.

Harvoni basics

Harvoni contains two active drugs: ledipasvir and sofosbuvir. (An active drug is an ingredient that makes a medication work.) Harvoni isn’t available as a generic drug.

Harvoni is a tablets that you swallow. It can be mixed with certain foods or swallowed.

For more information on how to use Harvoni, see the “How is Harvoni taken?” section below.

“The drug’s cost, side effects, and more are included in the information you read.”

There are many factors that affect the cost of prescription drugs. What your insurance plan covers is one of the factors.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Harvoni manufacturer’s website to see if they have support options.

You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.

Harvoni may cause mild or serious side effects. Some of the more common side effects of Harvoni are described in the lists below. All possible side effects are not included in these lists.

Side effects of a drug can depend on other factors.

  • Your age.
  • You have other health conditions.
  • You take other drugs.

The doctor or the pharmacy can tell you more about the side effects of Harvoni. They can suggest ways to reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Harvoni can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Harvoni’s prescribing information.

There are some mild side effects of Harvoni that have been reported.

The side effect focus section gives more information about this side effect.

The side effects of many drugs can be gone in a few days. If they become intolerable, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

There are serious side effects from Harvoni, but they are not common. If you have serious side effects from Harvoni, you should call your doctor. If you think you have a medical emergency, you should call the emergency number.

There have been serious side effects of Harvoni.

The side effect focus section gives more information about this side effect.

SUICIDE PREVENTION

If you think someone is at risk of self-injury or hurting another person.

  • You can call your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Guns, knives, medications, and other things should be removed.
  • “Don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you should get help from a hotline. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255.

Side effect focus

Some of the side effects Harvoni may cause are discussed.

Boxed warning

Harvoni has a boxed warning. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This boxed warning applies to people who have both hepatitis C and hepatitis B or have had hepatitis B in the past. Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Taking Harvoni can cause HBV to reactivate (flare up and cause symptoms). In some cases, HBV flares can lead to liver failure, which may be life threatening.

Symptoms of the disease may start suddenly with reactivation of the vaccine. These can include:

  • fatigue is low energy
  • There is a high degree of fever.
  • low appetite
  • There is pain in the right side of your body.
  • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)

What can help?

Your doctor will test you for the current or past infections of the disease before you start taking Harvoni. If the test shows you have the disease, your doctor will want to treat it. They may keep an eye on you after you finish treatment, as well as while you are taking Harvoni.

If you notice symptoms of the disease, you should call your doctor.

Fatigue

Some people may experience fatigue while taking Harvoni. This was one of the drug’s most common side effects in studies.

Keep in mind that fatigue can also be a symptom of hepatitis C.

What can help?

After you finish treatment, fatigue may go away.

Let your doctor know if you have fatigue during your Harvoni treatment. They can suggest ways to improve your energy levels. If fatigue is affecting your daily life, they may discuss other treatment options with you.

Depression

It’s possible for some people to experience depression during treatment with Harvoni. But this side effect was rare in the drug’s studies.

It’s also important to note that having hepatitis C may raise your risk of depression.

Depression can include symptoms.

  • “It’s a feeling of sad, lonely, or empty.”
  • fatigue
  • Changes in appetite or weight.
  • There are unexplained pains in your body.

In severe cases, depression can cause suicidal thoughts or behaviors, which is also an extremely rare side effect of Harvoni.

What can help?

If you feel depressed while taking Harvoni, talk to your doctor. Treatments can be suggested to address this side effect.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself, you can call or text the number of the trained crisis counselor.

The Suicide prevention section has more information.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Harvoni. While allergic reaction wasn’t reported in Harvoni’s clinical trials, it has happened since the drug was approved for use.

A mild allergic reaction can include some symptoms.

A more severe allergic reaction is not uncommon. A severe allergic reaction can cause swelling under your skin, which can be seen in your eyes, lips, hands, and feet. They can include swelling of your mouth, throat, and tongue, which can cause trouble breathing.

If you have an allergic reaction to Harvoni, call your doctor. If you think you have a medical emergency, call the emergency number.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Harvoni that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Forms and strengths

Harvoni is a tablets that you swallow. It is also available in a packet. You will take the contents of one or more packets for each dose, as your doctor prescribes.

You can either swallow the pellets whole or mix them with certain foods. For more information on how to use Harvoni pellets, see the “How is Harvoni taken?” section below.

Harvoni contains two active drugs, ledipasvir and sofobuvir. An active drug is an ingredient that makes a medication work. The strength of Harvoni is written in two numbers. The amount of ledipasvir is the first number, and the amount of sofosbuvir is the second.

Harvoni tablets and pellets are available in different strengths.

Harvoni tablets Harvoni pellets
45 milligrams (mg) ledipasvir/200 mg sofosbuvir (45 mg/200 mg) 33.75 mg/150 mg per packet
90 mg/400 mg 45 mg/200 mg per packet

Recommended dosages

You will take Harvoni by mouth once a day. You can take it at any time of day, but you should take it at the same time each day. This helps keep the drug in your body in a consistent level.

Questions about Harvoni’s dosage

There are many questions about Harvoni.

  • What if I miss a dose of Harvoni? It’s important that you take your Harvoni dose every day at the scheduled time. But if you miss a dose of Harvoni, take it as soon as you remember. You shouldn’t take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing so could raise your risk of side effects.
  • What will the duration of treatment be? Will I need to use Harvoni long term? You won’t use Harvoni long term. You’ll likely take Harvoni for 12 to 24 weeks. Your doctor can tell you more about how long your treatment will last.
  • How long does Harvoni take to work? Harvoni begins working as soon as you take a dose. In most people, it typically cures hepatitis C in 12 to 24 weeks.

Harvoni is prescribed to treat certain forms of chronic hepatitis C in adults and some children.

Hepatitis C is an infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). There are different strains of HCV, called genotypes, which are identified with blood tests.

Harvoni can be used in adults and children.

  • Genotype 1, 4, 5, or 6 HCV without cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or with compensated cirrhosis (mild or early stage cirrhosis).
  • Genotype 1 HCV with decompensated cirrhosis (severe or late-stage cirrhosis). For this use, you’ll take Harvoni with the drug ribavirin.
  • Genotype 1 or 4 HCV without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis, in people who’ve received a liver transplant. For this use, you’ll take Harvoni with the drug ribavirin.

About hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus causes a disease called hep C. It is spread through contact with blood. The body can clear the infection on its own.

Most people who get the disease become chronic infections. Chronic hepatitis C is not going away on its own.

It is called a “silent disease” for the disease of hepatitis C. Symptoms don\’t occur or are mild for a long time.

There are early symptoms of chronic hepatitis C.

  • constant fatigue (low energy)
  • Generally feeling unwell.
  • Mood changes.
  • Your muscles and joints are hurting.

If not treated, the disease will cause serious problems, such as cirrhosis and failure of the liver. Symptoms of severe liver problems are usually present.

  • There is pain in the right side of your body.
  • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • It is itching skin.
  • Ascites are caused by fluid build up in your belly.
  • There is confusion.

Find out what the answers are to some questions.

Does Harvoni cause any long-term side effects?

“Harvoni isn’t known to cause long-term side effects.”

If you have questions about how long the side effects of Harvoni will last, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

What is Harvoni’s mechanism of action?

“Harvoni prevents the hepatitis C virus from making copies of itself. The amount of virus in your body will decrease if a virus can’t be copied.”

Most cases of the disease can be cured with Harvoni. The virus is considered cured when blood tests show no traces of it.

Is it possible to have weight gain or weight loss from Harvoni? What about hair loss?

No, Harvoni shouldn’t cause weight gain, weight loss, or hair loss. These side effects weren’t reported in studies of the drug.

If you experience weight loss or hair loss, talk to your doctor.

Are there any reviews of Harvoni that I can read?

To learn more about reviews of Harvoni, you can read patient stories on the drug manufacturer’s website.

“It is important to note that your experience with Harvoni may be different from that of others. You can learn more about Harvoni’s success rate and what to expect from your treatment by talking to your doctor.”

Does Harvoni cause liver cancer or other kinds of cancer?

No, Harvoni isn’t known to cancer, including liver cancer.

If not treated, the disease can cause cancer. Harvoni can help prevent long-term effects of hepatitis C.

There’s been one report of someone developing liver cancer, even after their hepatitis C was successfully treated with Harvoni. More research is needed to learn about the risk of developing liver cancer after hepatitis C treatment, but it seems to be rare.

If you are concerned about your risk for cancer, you should talk to your doctor.

Is it possible to have joint pain or eye-related side effects from Harvoni?

It’s not likely. Joint pain and eye-related side effects weren’t side effects reported in studies of Harvoni.

Since Harvoni was approved for use, there have been a few reports of eye-related side effects in people taking Harvoni. But it’s not clear whether Harvoni or another factor caused these side effects. And a large study found Harvoni didn’t cause eye-related side effects.

If you are concerned about your risk of joint pain or eye related side effects, talk to your doctor.

If you are prescribed Harvoni, you may be interested in an alternative option.

Harvoni and Epclusa are both prescription drugs used to treat certain forms of hepatitis C in adults. Harvoni may also be used for treating hepatitis C in some children.

If you’d like to learn more about these drugs, see this detailed comparison. Also, talk with your doctor about the treatment option that’s right for you.

Before you start treatment with Harvoni, you should have a discussion with your doctor. It is important that you tell your doctor about your health issues.

You should tell your doctor and pharmacist about all your medication. They will want to check for any interactions with Harvoni.

Interactions

Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking Harvoni, you should tell your doctor about all your medications. You should also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions that may occur.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Harvoni can interact with a lot of drugs. These drugs are used.

  • certain antibiotics, including:
    • rifampin is a drug
    • rifabutin is a drug.
    • rifapentine is a drug.
  • heartburn and acid reflux drugs, including
    • There are antacids such as aluminum and magnesium hydroxide.
    • famotidine is a histamine blocker.
    • omeprazole is a pump inhibitors.
  • The drugs for the heart rhythm are amiodarone and digoxin.
  • certain epilepsy drugs, including:
    • “Carbamazepine is a drug that is used for treating Alzheimer’s disease.”
    • Dilantin andPhenytek are the names of the drugs.
  • certain HIV treatments, including:
    • tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Vemlidy), including:
      • Tenofovir and emtricitabine are used in the treatment of HIV.
      • Tenofovir, elvitegravir, cobicistat, and emtricitabine are all used for treatment of HIV.
      • Tenofovir, emtricitabine, and rilpivirine are used for HIV.
    • ritonavir is a drug used for the treatment of AIDS.
  • The cholesterol medications are rosuvastatin and atorvastatin.
  • the herbal supplement St. John’s wort

The list does not include all drugs that may interact with Harvoni. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the interactions that may occur with Harvoni.

Boxed warning

Harvoni has a boxed warning. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Risk of hepatitis B reactivation in certain people. Taking Harvoni can cause the hepatitis B virus (HBV) to reactivate (flare up and cause symptoms). In rare cases, HBV flares can cause serious liver failure, which may be life threatening.

To learn more, see “Side effect focus” in the “What are Harvoni’s side effects?” section above.

Other warnings

If you have a medical condition that affects your health, Harvoni may not be right for you. Before you take Harvoni, talk to your doctor about your health history. The factors to consider are listed below.

  • Kidney problems or are receiving dialysis. It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Harvoni if you have decompensated cirrhosis (liver problems due to scarring of the liver) and have kidney problems. This includes people who are receiving dialysis. Talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to use Harvoni. If you have kidney problems but don’t have cirrhosis, it’s likely safe for you to take Harvoni. But your doctor will determine whether you can take Harvoni based on your specific condition.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Harvoni or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Harvoni. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.

Harvoni and alcohol

Drinking alcohol may worsen certain side effects of Harvoni. Examples of these side effects include including There is a lot of diarrhea., fatigue (low energy), and There is a throbbing head..

Both alcohol and hepatitis C can cause problems in the body.

If you have questions about drinking alcohol during your treatment, talk to your doctor. They will suggest that you avoid drinking alcohol.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It is not known if it is safe to use Harvoni while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant, you should talk with your doctor before taking this drug. They can discuss the risks with you.

Harvoni is sometimes prescribed with the drug ribavirin to treat certain kinds of hepatitis C. Ribavirin isn’t safe to use during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment options for you. And to learn more about using ribavirin with Harvoni, see this article.

Harvoni and Mavyret are both prescription medications used to treat certain types of hepatitis C in adults and some children.

For a comparison of Harvoni and Mavyret, see this article. Also, talk with your doctor about the treatment option that’s right for you.

“Your doctor will explain how to take Harvoni. They will explain how much to take and how often. Follow your doctor’s instructions.”

Taking Harvoni

Harvoni is a pill that you swallow.

Harvoni is also available in a packet. You will take the contents of one or more packets for each dose, as your doctor prescribes.

You can mix them with non-acidic foods or swallow them whole. You should eat the mixture within 30 minutes of preparing it. It is best to not chew the contents to avoid tasting them.

Some non-acidic foods may be mixed with Harvoni pellets.

  • chocolate syrup
  • ice cream.
  • mashed potatoes.
  • pudding

If you have questions about Harvoni, you can talk to your doctor or the pharmacy.

Accessible medication containers and labels

“If you can’t read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies may provide medication labels.”

  • Have a large print.
  • Use the visual aids.
  • You can use a code on a phone to change the text into audio.

“If your current pharmacy doesn’t offer these options, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a new pharmacy.”

“If you have trouble opening your bottles, please let your doctor know. They may be able to put Harvoni in a container. The drug’s container may be easier to open with the help of your pharmacist.”

Taking Harvoni with other drugs

Harvoni is sometimes prescribed with the drug ribavirin to treat certain types of hepatitis C. Your doctor will determine whether you need to take other drugs with Harvoni. And to learn more about using ribavirin with Harvoni, see this article.

Questions about taking Harvoni

Some questions about taking Harvoni are listed below.

  • Can Harvoni be chewed, crushed, or split? No, Harvoni tablets should not be chewed, crushed, or split. They’re meant to be swallowed whole. But Harvoni pellets may be mixed with food if you have trouble swallowing pills. (To learn more, see “Taking Harvoni” above.)
  • Should I take Harvoni with food? You may take Harvoni tablets with or without food. Harvoni pellets may be mixed with certain foods. (To learn more, see “Taking Harvoni” above.)

Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Harvoni. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help you.

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Harvoni affect me?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment to make you feel more comfortable.
  • “If you don’t understand something, ask your doctor to explain it.”

“Your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. They want you to get the best care possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or give feedback on your treatment”

“Don’t take more Harvoni than your doctor tells you to. Side effects can be serious if you use more than this.”

What to do in case you take too much Harvoni

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Harvoni. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you are considering treatment with Harvoni, you should talk to your doctor. Ask them questions to better understand your treatment options. Some questions you may want to ask to get started.

  • Can I drink coffee while taking Harvoni? Do I need to restrict my diet?
  • Is it possible to have withdrawal symptoms after Harvoni treatment ends?
  • Do any of my medications increase my risk of side effects?

You can also learn more about hepatitis C medications by reading this article. Or see this article for information about treatment options for hepatitis C.

Q:

Will Harvoni protect me from getting the disease again?

Anonymous

A:

No. If you take any of the hepatitis C medication, you could get the disease again.

It is possible to contract the same disease. The hepatitis C virus may spread.

  • Sharing needles and using drugs.
  • Accidental exposure to a used needle in a healthcare setting.
  • Sexual contact without protection.
  • Sharing personal items that may come in contact with blood, such as a toothbrush or razor.
  • A contaminated needle can be used to get a tattoo or piercing.

If you have questions about how to prevent the disease after your treatment, you should talk to your doctor.

The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.