for Veterans and the Public
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What treatments are available?
Hepatitis C is typically treated with a combination of two drugs:
- Pegylated interferon--self injected, under the skin, once per week
- Ribavirin--pills, taken by mouth, twice per day
These two drugs are taken together for a limited period of time, usually 12 months, occasionally for 6 months. Rarely, pegylated interferon is used alone, without ribavirin. Ribavirin is never used alone, only with pegylated interferon.
In May 2011, the FDA approved two new drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C: telaprevir (Incivek) and boceprevir (Victrelis). The new drugs are approved specifically for patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C. They don't replace the 2-drug combination of pegylated interferon with ribavirin but must be used with them, for a 3-drug combination. Telaprevir and boceprevir can't be used alone and they can't be used together.