What is hepatitis C
Hepatitis C (HCV) is an infectious disease affecting primarily the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus. When people refer to HCV, they are actually talking about a family of related virus strains.
Today, there are six major genotypes (or strains) of HCV and more than 50 subtypes. These genotypes share some common gene sequences (or traits) with other HCV genotypes, but differ in others.
How common is hepatitis C
Approximately 3 million people in the United States have chronic HCV, most of them born from 1945-1965. Most were likely infected during the 1970s and 1980s, before the donor blood supply was screened for HCV.
How is hepatitis C transmitted
HCV is transmitted mostly through large or repeated exposures to infectious blood or body fluids such as:
- Injection drug use
- As a recipient of donated blood, blood products, and organs (before 1992)
- Needlestick injuries in the health care setting
- Mother to childbirth transmission from an HCV-infected mother
- Unprotected sex with a person infected with HCV
- Unsanitary tattoo procedures with contaminated equipment
Watch our video to learn more about hepatitis C and how medications help fight off the virus.
Questions regarding your hepatitis C therapy
You can reach the Accredo hepatitis C care team, anytime, day or night, seven days a week.
24-hour Customer Service Center
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C infection
Many patients experience no symptoms when they are initially infected. Patients may experience non-specific, mild symptoms that are unlikely to prompt a visit to their physician. When symptoms occur, they can include:
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stool
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
Of those that are exposed to HCV, 75%-85% have chronic HCV. For the remaining 15-25% the body will naturally clear the virus without treatment and no chronic infection results.
Those with chronic HCV experience gradual liver damage, scarring (or cirrhosis) and loss of function. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop complete liver failure (resulting in the need for transplantation), liver cancer or life-threatening esophageal and weak gastric veins.
How is it diagnosed
Because HCV infection doesn’t typically cause symptoms, patients are often not diagnosed until their donated blood is screened or when elevated liver enzymes are found during a routine health exam.
Because symptoms of the disease are often silent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that all people born between 1945 and 1965—as well as other at-risk populations—be screened for HCV. It is important to discuss your individual risk for infection and the need for testing with your physician.
Hepatitis CThe following specialty medications are available at Accredo, a specialty pharmacy for hepatitis C.
|Epclusa® (sofosbuvir 400 mg/velpatasvir 100 mg)||Gilead/Onward™|
|Harvoni® (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir tablets)||Gilead Sciences/Support Path™|
|Ribavirin||Various Generics Available|
|Sovaldi™ (sofosbuvir)||Gilead Sciences/Support Path®|
|Viekira XR™ (dasabuvir, ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir tablets)||AbbVie/proCeed™|
|Vosevi® (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir)||Gilead Sciences/Support Path™|
|Zepatier® (elbasvir and grazoprevir)||Merck & Co., Inc.|
Financing Your Care
Financial assistance coordination may be available to help with your medication costs, including manufacturer and community programs. Accredo representatives are available to help find a program that may work for you.
Community financial resources
- Good Days® | 877-968-7233
- OPUS Health | 800-364-4767
- Patient Access Network Foundation | 866-316-7263
- Patient Advocate Foundation | 800-532-5274
Life-saving specialty medication can be expensive. Learn how the Accredo teams help individuals find ways to afford the medication they need to survive in this video.
There are many organizations that support research and advocacy for HCV and liver disease. See below for a few of those organizations.
- American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
- American Gastroenterological Association
- American Liver Foundation
Meet the Team
Accredo’s hepatitis C care team is dedicated to serving you and we understand the complexity of your condition. Our specialty-trained clinicians are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer any questions.
Why We Do It
Accredo supports patients with chronic and complex conditions and helps them live their best life. Watch our video to learn why we do what we do for our patients.