Hepatitis C Treatment and Side Effects

New Hepatitis C Medicines Providers

 

New hepatitis C treatments are now available and all GPs are eligible to prescribe. However, as these are new treatments, some GPs may be reluctant at this stage to prescribe as they are not familiar with them and are still learning about the medications and processes. Speak to your GP and find out if they, or another GP in the practice is hepatitis C treatment ready.

 

For those people whose GPs are unable at this stage to prescribe we have put together a list of doctors who are currently ready to prescribe.

 

In so doing HepatitisWA is not promoting any one doctor or practice over another or suggesting that these are the only doctors who are prescribing. This list will be updated on a regular basis as more doctors take up prescribing.

 

Prescribing Doctors List (Western Australia) *

Name

Practice

Address

Bulk-Bill

Phone

Dr. Hillary Snell

 

 

Bayswater Medical Group

433-435 Guildford Road,

Bayswater 6053

 

(08) 9272 3111

Dr. J. Mudhar &
Dr. T. S Khoo

 

Carousel Medical Centre

1/7-9 Pattie St,
Cannington WA 6107

 

(08) 9258 1000

Dr. Stuart Paterson

 

 

Ellen Health

69 Wray Ave,
Fremantle WA 6160

 

(08) 9239 0200

Dr. Wendy Lawrance

Fresh Start Recovery Programme

65 Townshend Rd,
Subiaco, WA 6008

Yes

(08) 9381 1333

Dr. Frank Jones &
Dr. Rupert Backhouse

 

 

Murray Medical Centre

 

34 - 36 Minilya Parkway, Mandurah, WA 6210

Yes (with concession card)

(08) 9535 1166

Dr. Peter Winterton

 

 

Mount Hawthorn Medical Centre

81 Scarborough Beach Road,

Mount Hawthorn WA 6016

 

(08) 9444 1644

Dr. Fergus McCabe &
Dr. Belinda Wozencroft & Dr. Ric Chaney &
Dr. Goran Pervan

 

 

GP on Beaufort

691 Beaufort St,
Mount Lawley, WA 6050

 

(08) 9262 8600

Dr Anne Cynthia Asokananthan

Riverton Medical Centre

2 Madeira Rd,

Parkwood, WA 6147

Yes (with concession card)

(08) 9457 1999

Prof Gary Jeffrey &
Dr. Michael Wallace

The Liver Centre WA

1st Floor, Suite 10, 2 McCourt St,

West Leederville, WA 6007

 

 

(08) 6163 2800

Prof Gary Jeffrey (Public Clinic)

 

 

The Liver Centre WA

1st Floor, Suite 10, 2 McCourt St,
West Leederville, WA 6007

Yes

(08) 6163 2800

 

 

Pharmacy List (Western Australia)

Pharmacy

Address

Phone

Albany Community Pharmacy

18 Pioneer Road,
Albany WA 6330

(08) 9841 1532

Amcal Max Albany

262 – 264 York St,
Albany WA 6330

(08) 9842 2036

Busy Bee Pharmacy

201-205 William St,
Northbridge WA 6003

(08) 9328 7885

Chemist Warehouse Perth

 

1/109 Murray St,
Perth WA 6000

(08) 9325 7948

Craven’s Pharmacy
cravenspharmacy@gmail.com
www.perthpharmacy.com.au

2/553 Hay St,
Perth WA 6000

(08) 9325 8810

Epic Pharmacy Hollywood
Hollywood Private Hospital

101 Monash Ave,
Nedlands WA 6009

(08) 9389 3500

Epic Pharmacy Mt Lawley
Mercy Hospital Mount Lawley

15 Thirlmere Rd,
Mount Lawley WA 6050

(08) 9370 9222

Optimal Pharmacy Plus Armadale

28/193 Jull St, Armadale WA 6112

(08) 9393 1200

Optimal Pharmacy Plus Balga

7 Fieldgate Square, Balga WA 6061

(08) 9342 2212

Optimal Pharmacy Plus Meadow Springs

25 Meadow Springs Dr, Meadow Springs WA 6210

(08) 9582 0119

Optimal Pharmacy Plus Stirlings

Shop 16, Stirling Arcade Sanford St, Geraldton WA 6530

(08) 9921 1965

Priceline Albany

Dog Rock Shopping Centre, 1/324 Middleton Rd, Albany WA 6330

(08) 9841 4377

Priceline Pharmacy
Hay Street

810 Hay St,
Perth WA 6000

(08) 9321 0699

Scarborough Beach Pharmacy

 

241 West Coast Highway,

Scarborough WA 6019

(08) 9341 1133

Scarborough 7 Day Chemist

 

Shop 3, 23 Scarborough Beach Rd,

Scarborough WA 6019

(08) 9245 1950

 

 

 

Media Statement – 29 April 2016

 

New Hep C treatment on PBS welcome - but still more to do 

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing of Viekira Pak® and Viekira Pak-RBV® from 1 May is a very welcome addition to the highly effective new generation treatment options for people living with hepatitis C.

 

Viekira Pak is a new multi-drug treatment regimen for hepatitis C genotype 1, which combines paritaprevir-ritonavir, ombitasvir and dasabuvir, used with, or without, ribavirin.

 

It will be available on the PBS from 1 May 2016 along with the existing direct-acting antiviral medicines that were listed from March this year. Australian clinical data recently released demonstrates an overall cure rate of greater than 90% and 100% in those without cirrhosis.

 

We know that several thousand people have commenced treatment since 1 March. Hepatitis Australia understands that the number of people receiving treatment in March 2016 has matched, or exceeded the number of people receiving treatment during the whole of 2014.

 

This good news is tempered by the fact that some people living with less common hepatitis C genotypes are still desperately waiting for new treatments to become available without the terrible side-effects of the older medicine.

 

“I find it really heartbreaking that genotypes 4 to 6 - which make up only a very small percentage of the hep C population in Australia still can't have access to interferon free treatment. We were waiting with hope ? like everyone else ? only to be left behind again.” Facebook follower 30/3/16

 

There are six main genotypes (strains) of the hepatitis C virus. In Australia, the most prevalent (90%) genotypes are 1 and 3. The currently approved treatments in Australia provide a number of interferon-free options for genotypes 1, 2 and 3. Under current guidelines, people with genotypes 4, 5 and 6 still have to experience the debilitating

side- effects associated with pegylated interferon.

 

Trials of treatment regimens that are effective across all hepatitis C genotypes (pangenotypic medicines) are continuing, but it is currently unclear how long Australians will need to wait for these to become available on the PBS. Once approved, the introduction and PBS listing of pan-genotypic medicines will be the next major step in

treating and eliminating hepatitis C in Australia.

 

In the meantime, people with the less common genotypes 4, 5, or 6, can speak to their hepatitis specialist about clinical trials or early access programs being conducted by the pharmaceutical companies.

 

For further information please go our Hepatitis C Treatment Factsheet which can be accessed via this link: www.hepatitisaustralia.com/newtreatments

 

Media Contact: Helen Tyrrell (Hepatitis Australia) 0413 454 257

Hepatitis C Treatment

New generation, direct-acting antiviral medications are now available to Australians living with chronic hepatitis C. They are more effective, easier to take and have fewer side-effects than the older medications. The Australian Government has listed these new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), ensuring they are accessible and affordable to all people with hepatitis C.  This is a leap forward in the management and treatment of hepatitis C and positions Australia as a world leader in publicly-funded access to these new, highly effective medicines.  

The new hepatitis C treatments: 

  • are more effective resulting in a cure for 90% of people;
  • are taken as tablets only and have very few side effects;
  • can be taken for as little as 8-12 weeks for most people and
  • do not require the use of peg-interferon as part of the regimen.


Generally speaking peg-interferon based treatments will be superseded in 2016.

Contact your doctor for further information on the new hepatitis C treatment or call us at HepatitisWA on (08) 9328 8538 (Metro) or 1800 800 070 (Country).

 


 

What are the new medicines?

The new, direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medicines available on the PBS from 1 March 2016 are:

  • sofosbuvir + ledipasvir (Harvoni®)
  • sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®)
  • daclatasvir (Daklinza®)
  • ribavirin (Ibavyr®)

Following a clinical assessment, these medicines are used independently or in combination with other medicines depending on the person’s particular situation. For most people, this will mean treatment without the need to use interferon. 

 

Are the new medicines better than the previous ones?

Yes, there are a number of benefits. The new DAA medicines are:

  • more effective, resulting in a cure for 90-95% of people
  • taken as tablets only and have very few side-effects
  • taken for as little as 8-12 weeks in most cases, and
  • provide interferon-free treatment options for all common genotypes in Australia.

 

Are the new medicines available for all people with hepatitis C?

Yes, treatment using the new DAA medicines is available through the PBS for all people living with hepatitis C over the age of 18 and who have a Medicare Card. However, the particular combination of medicines used will depend on a range of individual factors including genotype, prior treatment experience and whether or not you have already developed cirrhosis (liver scarring).

What about people who currently inject drugs?
There are no restrictions applied to people who inject drugs as they are a priority population for hepatitis C treatment.  Whether or not a person currently injects drugs should not be used as criteria for restricting access to the new medicines.

Can people in prison access the new medicines?
Yes, people in prison are a priority population for hepatitis C treatment. The Australian Government has ensured the new medicines will be funded for people in prison.


Are there interferon-free options available for all genotypes?

Initially, from 1 March, interferon-free treatment options will be available for genotypes 1, 2 and 3 – these are the most common genotypes in Australia. For now, treatment for people with genotypes 4, 5 and 6 will still require taking a combination of one of the new medicines in conjunction with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, but for a shorter duration than before.

Other new DAA medicines are currently being considered by the Government for listing on the PBS and we anticipate that more will follow. Hepatitis Australia will provide further information about these and other interferon-free options for genotypes 4, 5 and 6 as it becomes available.


What information will the doctor need to know about your health before treatment can be prescribed?

There are a number of tests the doctor will do and information you will be asked to provide before treatment can be prescribed.  These include:

  • undergoing blood tests to confirm you have active hepatitis C infection
  • undergoing tests to determine the hepatitis C genotype (strain) you have
  • undergoing an assessment to see if you have developed cirrhosis (liver scarring)
  • discussing any previous treatments for hepatitis C you may have taken,
  • identifying any other illnesses or health complaints you have, and
  • discussing any other prescription medications, over-the-counter medications or substances you are taking. This is important to avoid any possible drug interactions.

It is very important that medicines are taken as instructed, so the doctor or nurse may also talk with you about your readiness to start treatment and discuss things that may impact on your ability to take the medicine regularly, as prescribed.

 

What does treatment with the new medicines involve?

The treatment regimens for the new DAA medicines range between 8 and 24 weeks for a complete course of treatment, depending on your genotype, treatment history, whether you have cirrhosis and the combination of medicines used. 

Some treatments require only 1 to 2 tablets once or twice a day. For some treatment regimens, up to three medicines may be required to be used together. Depending on treatment history and genotype, some people may still need to include an injection (peg-interferon) as well as taking tablets. Your doctor will explain the options available to you in more detail.

Will you need to have more tests during treatment?
Yes, the doctor will need to do blood tests to monitor how your body is responding to the medicines. This means checking if the medicine is working effectively against the hepatitis C and that it is not negatively affecting your overall health


Can general practitioners (GPs) prescribe treatment for hepatitis C?

Yes. From 1 March, GPs in Australia can prescribe the new medicines.  Before prescribing any medicines, your GP will be required to collect information and conduct tests (see above) to establish which combination of medicines will be the most effective for you.  Based on that information, the GP will then consult with a specialist before prescribing the medicine for you. This means it is likely you will need a couple of appointments before receiving a prescription. In some cases, where there are other significant health factors to consider, the GP may refer you to a specialist before treatment is commenced.


Can you still see your specialist to access the new medicines?

Yes, gastroenterologists, hepatologists or infectious diseases physicians experienced in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C will continue to prescribe the new medicines.  These specialists will also provide advice to GPs prescribing the new medicines, so you may consider seeing your GP if this is more convenient for you.

 

Where can you get your prescription filled?

This will depend on the type of prescription you receive and the doctor will provide more details. There are two types of prescriptions known as either s100 or s85.

Most people will receive the s85 prescription, which can usually be filled by your local pharmacy. However, it is important to note that some pharmacies may not have the medicines readily available and you may need to wait up to 72hrs to collect them.  This is due to the very high cost the pharmacies have to outlay to stock the medicines and the initial unknown quantities needed in your area.  Some smaller pharmacies may refer you to another pharmacy or a public hospital-based pharmacy to fill your prescription. This situation should improve over time as more people start accessing treatment.

Some people accessing specialists may receive the s100 type of prescription. These prescriptions can only be filled through hospital-based pharmacies and not local, community-based pharmacies.

As well as some initial delays, some prescriptions may only allow you to collect 4 weeks’ supply of medicine at a time. So it is important to plan ahead so you don’t run out of medicine.

 

How much do the medicines cost you?

From 1 March 2016, you will only be charged the usual co-payment price you pay for the dispensing fee of each prescription. As these medicines are PBS ‘Authority required’ the doctor can only prescribe one medicine on each prescription. This means you may be required to pay the dispensing fee for each medicine.  

From 1 January 2016, the dispensing fee for each prescription is $38.30 for general patients and $6.20 for concessional patients. This fee is reviewed each year.

 

What if treatment is not effective for you?

For most people it is highly likely the new DAA medicine will be effective. If the new treatment does not work for you, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for further assessment prior to commencing any further treatment.

 

Where can you get further information?

You can talk to your GP, specialist, clinic nurse or call the Hepatitis Helpline on 9328 8538 (Metro) or 1800 800 070 (Country).

 

Don't put your health at risk by waiting too long

It’s easy to understand why you might have waited for the new interferon-free treatments to become available. However, now treatment is much simpler and by waiting, you could be putting your health at risk.

If you’re 40 years of age or over, you’re likely to experience an accelerated rate of liver damage which increases your risk of developing cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure. This is called the ‘Liver Danger Zone’.

You should also bear in mind that symptoms of liver disease may not be felt until the liver is significantly scarred.

Please don’t put your health at risk by waiting too long for treatment. Make an appointment with your doctor to have a liver health assessment and treatment discussion with your doctor at least once a year.

 

What does a liver health assessment involve?

Your doctor will give you a clinical examination and blood tests. They may also use a Fibroscan® – a quick, non-invasive test (similar to an ultrasound) that measures the level of liver scarring to determine the severity of liver disease.

For further information on the liver health assessments see our:

Liver Assessment Factsheet - download now (PDF 184kb)
Watch the video of a liver health assessment below

Produced by Hepatitis Australia. 

If you have chronic hepatitis C and particularly if you are in the ‘Liver Danger Zone’, ask your doctor about having a regular liver health check-up today. A liver check-up is nothing to worry about, it is simple, easy and it could save your life.

 

Page last updated: Thursday 14 July, 2016