BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Few patients from developing countries can afford brand name direct-acting antiviral agents for treating hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and controversy regarding the bioequivalence of generics exists. This study aimed to observe the safety and efficacy of 8 or 12weeks of generic ledipasvir-sofosbuvir with or without ribavirin for Chinese genotype 1b HCV-infected patients.
In this open-labelled observational study, 63 cirrhotic (group 1) and 65 non-cirrhotic (group 2) patients were administered generic ledipasvir-sofosbuvir plus 1000-1200mg of ribavirin daily for 12 and 8weeks, respectively; and 64 non-cirrhotic patients (group 3) received ledipasvir-sofosbuvir for 8weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was undetectable HCV RNA at week 12 (SVR12) after cessation of therapy. Safety and pharmacokinetic data were collected.
One hundred and eighty-seven patients completed treatment, and the latest undetectable HCV RNA was observed in three patients with cirrhosis at week 5 during treatment. Intention-to-treat analysis revealed 96.8% (61/63), 96.9% (63/65), and 96.9% (62/64) of SVR12 rates in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. One patient in group 3 relapsed at post-treatment week 4. The regimens were generally well-tolerated. The most common adverse events were fatigue (17.8%), diarrhea (10.9%), and headache (9.9%). Four patients discontinued therapy due to diarrhea and vomiting. One patient from group 2 discontinued treatment on day 29 because of drug-unaffordability; fortunately, she achieved SVR12.
This study demonstrated that 8 or 12weeks of generic ledipasvir-sofosbuvir with or without ribavirin are safe and effective for patients with genotype 1b HCV infection.
The price of Harvoni® has led to restrictions and access limitations in many developing and even developed countries with limited healthcare budgets. Gilead approved generic ledipasvir-sofosbuvir costs far less than Harvoni® and presents a similar cure rate for patients with chronic hepatitis C.