All About Sovaldi
If you have hepatitis C virus (HCV), your doctor may prescribe Sovaldi. It’s a prescription drug used in adults and some children to treat certain types of HCV. It’s used with other drugs that also treat HCV.
To learn more about Sovaldi and its uses for HCV, see the “Is Sovaldi used for hepatitis C?” section below.
Sovaldi contains the active ingredient sofosbuvir. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Sovaldi isn’t available as a generic drug.
Sovaldi is a drug that you swallow. It can be used as a pellet that you can either swallow or sprinkle.
Read about the uses and side effects of Sovaldi.
Sovaldi is used with ribavirin alone or with ribavirin and peginterferon to treat certain types of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Specifically, Sovaldi is used in adults to treat chronic HCV that is genotype 1, 2, 3, or 4. (“Genotype” means the specific strain of the virus.) Sovaldi is also used in children ages 3 years and older with chronic HCV that’s genotype 2 or 3.
For adults and children, Sovaldi is used to treat HCV without cirrhosis (liver scarring) or with cirrhosis that’s not causing symptoms.
Sovaldi treats hepatitis C by blocking an enzyme (protein) that the virus needs to make copies of itself. This lowers the amount of HCV in your body to a level that can’t be detected with a blood test.
About chronic HCV
HCV is a virus that causes swelling in the liver. Over time, HCV can lead to a chronic (long-term) infection in the liver. Chronic HCV may cause cirrhosis and liver failure.
There are symptoms of chronic HCV.
- There is belly pain.
- Dark urine.
- fatigue (low energy)
- decreased appetite
- muscle or joint pain
- weight loss
- jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
Sovaldi may cause mild or serious side effects. The side effects described below are more common. All possible side effects are not included in these lists.
Side effects of drugs can be different depending on your age, other health conditions, and other drugs you take. Depending on whether you take it with ribavirin alone or with ribavirin and peginterferon, the side effects can vary.
The doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the side effects of Sovaldi. They can suggest ways to reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Sovaldi can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Sovaldi’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Sovaldi when taken with ribavirin alone are included.
- There is a throbbing head.
- fatigue (low energy)
There are some mild side effects of Sovaldi when taken with ribavirin and peginterferon.
- insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- There is a throbbing head.
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 Sovaldi, but they are not common. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor. If you think you have a medical emergency, you should call the emergency room or go to the nearest emergency room.
There are serious side effects of Sovaldi when taken with ribavirin alone or with peginterferon.
- anemia (low levels of red blood cells)
- Slow heartbeat.
- boxed warning: reactivation of hepatitis B virus*
- allergic reaction†
* Sovaldi has a boxed warning for this side effect. To learn more, see the “Boxed warning” section at the beginning of this article.
† To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to Sovaldi.
A mild allergic reaction can include some symptoms.
- There is a skin rash.
- It is itchy.
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
A more severe allergic reaction is not uncommon. A severe allergic reaction can cause swelling under your skin, usually in your lips, hands, or feet. They can include swelling of your mouth, throat, and tongue, which can cause trouble breathing.
If you have an allergic reaction to Sovaldi, call your doctor. If you think you have a medical emergency, call the emergency number.
Answers to some questions about Sovaldi are available.
Can you take Sovaldi and Daklinza or Sovaldi and Olysio?
In the past, some people may have taken daclatasvir (Daklinza) or simeprevir (Olysio) with Sovaldi. Daklinza and Olysio were drugs that also treated certain types of hepatitis C virus (HCV).
“Olysio and Daklinza are no longer available. You won’t take Sovaldi with these medications.”
Your doctor will choose the best combination of drugs for you based on the genotype (strain) of HCV you have, your liver function, and your medical history.
Are there long-term side effects of Sovaldi?
There are no long-term side effects from Sovaldi. You will continue to have blood tests after your treatment is over. You may have damage to your body after taking Sovaldi.
If you have questions about how long the side effects of Sovaldi could last, talk to your doctor.
Will I have side effects after treatment with Sovaldi?
No, you shouldn’t have any side effects after you stop taking Sovaldi. In studies, people taking Sovaldi didn’t report side effects after finishing their treatment.
But it’s important to note that Sovaldi could cause a reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV). And this can lead to symptoms of HBV that continue after your Sovaldi treatment ends. Sovaldi has a boxed warning for HBV reactivation. To learn more, see the “Boxed warning” section at the beginning of this article.
If you have questions about what to expect after you stop taking Sovaldi, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Sovaldi that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
Forms and strengths
Sovaldi is a drug that you swallow. It can be used as a pellet that you can either swallow or sprinkle.
The Sovaldi tablets have two strengths: 400 and 200. The oral pellets have two strengths: 200 and 150.
The Sovaldi dosage your doctor prescribes for you will depend on the genotype (strain) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) you have. It may also depend on other factors, such as if you have liver cancer and are waiting for a liver transplant.
“The Sovaldi dosage for children depends on their body weight and strain of the HCV. Your child’s doctor will make a decision on their dosage.”
You will take Sovaldi once a day. You can take it with or without food. You can take Sovaldi at any time of day, but you have to take it at the same time every day. This helps keep the drug in your body in a consistent level. It is usually taken at the same time as other drugs in your treatment regimen.
Questions about Sovaldi’s dosage
There are many questions about Sovaldi.
- What if I miss a dose of Sovaldi? If you miss a dose of Sovaldi, take the dose as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at its regular time. You shouldn’t take two doses of Sovaldi at once. Doing so could raise your risk of side effects.
- Will I need to use Sovaldi long term? No, Sovaldi is typically used short term. Your doctor will prescribe Sovaldi for either 12 weeks or 24 weeks, depending on the genotype (strain) of HCV you have and your health history. People with liver cancer who are waiting for a liver transplant may take Sovaldi for as long as 48 weeks.
- How long does Sovaldi take to work? Sovaldi starts working right after you take your first dose. Some people may have their hepatitis symptoms eased after only days or weeks of taking the medication. But even if you notice your symptoms are relieved, it’s important to keep taking Sovaldi for as long as your doctor has prescribed it.
Your doctor should discuss with him or her any medical conditions you may have and your overall health.
Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.
Before taking Sovaldi, you should tell your doctor about all your medication. You should also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions that may occur with Sovaldi.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
Sovaldi can interact with a lot of drugs.
- St. John’s wort, an herbal supplement
- the HIV drug tipranavir (Aptivus)*
- certain seizure medications, such as:
- Dilantin andPhenytek are the names of the drugs.
- Carbamazepine is a drug that is used for treating insomnia.
- oxcarbazepine is a drug used for treating insomnia.
- amiodarone (Nexterone, Pacerone), a heart rhythm drug
- certain antibiotics, such as:
- rifampin is a drug
- rifabutin is a drug.
- rifapentine is a drug.
The list does not include all drugs that may interact with Sovaldi. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the interactions that may occur with Sovaldi.
ritonavir is used with tipranavir. There is no known interaction between Sovaldi and ritonavir.
Sovaldi has a
Sovaldi can make the virus return to its former state in your body.
To learn more, see the “Boxed warning” section at the beginning of this article.
If you have a medical condition that affects your health, Sovaldi may not be right for you. Before you take Sovaldi, talk to your doctor about your health history. The factors to consider are listed below.
- Kidney problems. It isn’t known whether Sovaldi is safe or effective for people with serious kidney disease, such as kidney failure. If you have serious kidney disease, talk with your doctor about whether Sovaldi is the right drug for you. They may prescribe a different medication.
- Liver problems, including liver transplant. It isn’t known whether Sovaldi is safe or effective for people who have certain liver problems. Talk with your doctor if you have liver problems other than hepatitis C. Examples include having had a liver transplant in the past or having cirrhosis (liver scarring) that’s causing symptoms. Your doctor may choose a different medication to treat your condition. And if you have liver cancer and are waiting for a liver transplant, they may also give you a different dosage of Sovaldi than what’s usually prescribed.
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Sovaldi or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Sovaldi. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.
Sovaldi and alcohol
There are no known interactions between Sovaldi and alcohol. But drinking alcohol can raise the risk of cirrhosis (liver scarring) in people with hepatitis C virus (HCV). (Sovaldi is used to treat HCV.) Because of this risk, your doctor may recommend avoiding alcohol while taking Sovaldi.
If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It is not known if Sovaldi is safe to use during pregnancy. ribavirin is not safe to take while pregnant, so it is important to note that Sovaldi is taken with it. ribavirin can cause harm to a fetus or pregnant woman.
If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while taking Sovaldi.
According to HCV guidelines from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, doctors typically suggest waiting until after pregnancy to treat HCV. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking Sovaldi.
It is not known if it is safe to use Sovaldi while breastfeeding. If you are planning to breastfeeding, you should talk with your doctor before taking this drug.
Your doctor will explain how you should take Sovaldi. They will also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Sovaldi is a drug that you swallow. It can be used as a pellet that you can either swallow or sprinkle. To learn more about how to use Sovaldi pellets, see the drug’s prescribing information.
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 Sovaldi in a container. The drug’s container may be easier to open with the help of your pharmacist.”
Taking Sovaldi with other drugs
Doctors typically prescribe Sovaldi with other medications to treat hepatitis C. You may take Sovaldi with ribavirin alone or with ribavirin and peginterferon. Your doctor will determine which other drugs you’ll take with Sovaldi based on your medical history and the genotype (strain) of HCV you have. (To learn more, see the “What is Sovaldi’s dosage?” section above.)
Questions about taking Sovaldi
Some questions about taking Sovaldi are listed below.
- Can Sovaldi be chewed, crushed, or split? The manufacturer does not state whether Sovaldi tablets can be split, crushed, or chewed. If you or your child have trouble swallowing tablets, the pellet form of Sovaldi may be an option. You can either swallow the pellets whole or sprinkle them on food. You can read more about how to use Sovaldi pellets in the prescribing information.
- Should I take Sovaldi with food? You can take Sovaldi with or without food.
Questions for your doctor
You may have questions about your treatment. 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 Sovaldi affect my body?
- 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”
Sovaldi and Harvoni both treat certain types of chronic hepatitis C virus. Both of these drugs contain the active ingredient sofobuvir, but Harvoni also contains ledipasvir. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
To find out more about these medications, see this side-by-side comparison. Also, talk with your doctor to see which treatment option might be right for you.
There are many factors that affect the cost of prescription drugs. What your insurance plan covers is one of the factors.
Sovaldi isn’t available as a generic drug. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. A program to help lower the cost of Sovaldi is available.
You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.
Do not take more than your doctor prescribes. Side effects can be serious if you use more than this. Do not take more than one dose of Sovaldi in a day.
What to do in case you take too much Sovaldi
Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Sovaldi. 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.
Sovaldi is a medication that treats hepatitis C virus (HCV). If you’re interested in taking this drug, talk with your doctor to see if it’s right for you.
You can read the following articles to learn more about the treatment options for the disease.
- What are the treatments for the disease?
- You want to know everything about the disease.
- There is a full list of the drugs used for the disease.
If you have questions, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Here are a few questions to ask.
- Does Sovaldi cure the disease?
- Should I take the Sovaldi tablets or the pellets?
- Will Sovaldi interact with my current medication?
- Can Sovaldi make my insomnia worse?
When my hepatitis C virus (HCV) is treated, will my liver start working better? How will that affect my other medications?
Yes, taking Sovaldi could make your liver work better. This could lead to your other medications having a stronger effect. These effects were reported by people who took Sovaldi after its release onto the market.
Other drugs could be affected.
- drugs for high blood sugar, such as glimepiride (Amaryl) or pioglitazone (Actos)
- the blood thinner warfarin (Jantoven)
- drugs that you may take if you have both HIV and HCV, such as tipranavir (Aptivus)
Before starting treatment with Sovaldi, you should talk to your doctor about your medications. Your doctor may check your liver function after your Sovaldi treatment to see if there are any changes to your other medications.
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.