FDA approves two hepatitis C drugs for children

sovaldi photo

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved supplemental applications for Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir) to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) in children ages 12 to 17. The drugs were previously approved to treat HCV in adults.

They are the first direct-acting antiviral treatments approved for children and adolescents with HCV. Direct-acting antiviral drugs reduce the amount of HCV in the body by preventing the virus from multiplying, and in most cases, they cure HCV.

“These approvals will help change the landscape for HCV treatment by addressing an unmet need in children and adolescents,” said Edward Cox, M.D., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

HVC is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to diminished liver function or liver failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2.7 to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic HCV, and children born to HCV-positive mothers are at risk for HCV infection. It is estimated that there are 23,000 to 46,000 children in the United States with HCV infection.

The most common adverse reactions observed with treatment with Harvoni were fatigue and headache. The most common adverse events observed with Sovaldi in combination with ribavirin were fatigue and headache.

Harvoni and Sovaldi are marketed by Gilead Sciences, Inc.

About the Author

Truman Lewis
Truman has been a bureau chief and correspondent in D.C., Los Angeles, Phoenix and elsewhere, reporting for radio, television, print and news services, for more than 30 years.