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Harvoni FDA Alerts

The FDA Alert(s) below may be specifically about Harvoni or relate to a group or class of drugs which include Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir).

MedWatch Safety Alerts are distributed by the FDA and published by Drugs.com. Following is a list of possible medication recalls, market withdrawals, alerts and warnings. For the latest FDA MedWatch alerts, go here.

Recent FDA Alert(s) for ledipasvir/sofosbuvir

Direct-Acting Antivirals for Hepatitis C: Drug Safety Communication - Risk of Hepatitis B Reactivating

Oct 4, 2016

Audience: Infectious Disease, Gastroenterology, Patient

ISSUE: The FDA is warning about the risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) becoming an active infection again in any patient who has a current or previous infection with HBV and is treated with certain direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medicines for hepatitis C virus. In a few cases, HBV reactivation in patients treated with DAA medicines resulted in serious liver problems or death. HBV reactivation usually occurred within 4-8 weeks.

As a result, FDA is requiring a Boxed Warning, our most prominent warning, about the risk of HBV reactivation to be added to the drug labels of these DAAs directing health care professionals to screen and monitor for HBV in all patients receiving DAA treatment. This warning will also be included in the patient information leaflet or Medication Guides for these medicines.

BACKGROUND: Direct-acting antiviral medicines are used to treat chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, an infection that can last a lifetime. These medicines reduce the amount of HCV in the body by preventing HCV from multiplying, and in most cases, they cure HCV. Without treatment, HCV can lead to serious liver problems including cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death (see List of Direct-Acting Antivirals in the FDA Drug Safety Communication).

FDA identified 24 cases of HBV reactivation reported to FDA and from the published literature in HCV/HBV co-infected patients treated with DAAs during the 31 months from November 22, 2013 to July 18, 2016. This number includes only cases submitted to FDA, so there are likely additional cases about which FDA is unaware. Of the cases reported, two patients died and one required a liver transplant.  HBV reactivation was not reported as an adverse event in the clinical trials submitted for the DAA approvals because patients with HBV co-infection were excluded from the trials.  See the data summary section in the Drug Safety Communication for more detailed information.

RECOMMENDATION: Health care professionals should screen all patients for evidence of current or prior HBV infection before starting treatment with DAAs, and monitor patients using blood tests for HBV flare-ups or reactivation during treatment and post-treatment follow-up.

Patients should tell your health care professional if you have a history of hepatitis B infection or other liver problems before being treated for hepatitis C. Do not stop taking your DAA medicine without first talking to your health care professional. Stopping treatment early could result in your virus becoming less responsive to certain hepatitis C medicines. Read the patient information leaflet or Medication Guide that comes with each new prescription because the information may have changed. Contact your health care professional immediately if you develop fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, yellow eyes or skin, or light-colored stools, as these may be signs of serious liver problems.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/index.cfm
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

[10/04/2016 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]

Hepatitis C Treatments Containing Sofosbuvir in Combination With Another Direct Acting Antiviral Drug: Drug Safety Communication - Serious Slowing of Heart Rate When Used With Antiarrhythmic Drug Amiodarone

Mar 24, 2015

Audience: Cardiology, Infectious Disease, Gastroenterology, Pharmacy

[Posted 03/24/2015]

ISSUE: FDA is warning that serious slowing of the heart rate can occur when the antiarrhythmic drug amiodarone is taken together with either the hepatitis C drug Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) or with Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) taken in combination with another direct acting antiviral for the treatment of hepatitis C infection. FDA is adding information about serious slowing of the heart rate, known as symptomatic bradycardia, to the Harvoni and Sovaldi labels. FDA is recommending that health care professionals should not prescribe either Harvoni or Sovaldi combined with another direct acting antiviral, such as the investigational drug daclatasvir or Olysio (simeprevir), with amiodarone.

FDA review of submitted postmarketing adverse event reports found that patients can develop a serious and life-threatening symptomatic bradycardia when either Harvoni or Sovaldi combined with another direct-acting antiviral is taken together with amiodarone. The reports included the death of one patient due to cardiac arrest and three patients requiring placement of a pacemaker to regulate their heart rhythms. The other patients recovered after discontinuing either the hepatitis C drugs or amiodarone, or both (see Data Summary). The cause of these events could not be determined. FDA will continue to monitor Harvoni and Sovaldi for risks of serious symptomatic bradycardia and further investigate the reason why the use of amiodarone with these hepatitis C drugs led to the heart-related events.

BACKGROUND: For a Data Summary and additional recommendations for health professionals and patients, see the FDA Drug Safety Communication.

RECOMMENDATION: Health care professionals should not prescribe either Harvoni or Sovaldi combined with another direct-acting antiviral drug with amiodarone. However, in cases where alternative treatment options are unavailable, FDA recommends heart monitoring in an inpatient hospital setting for the first 48 hours. Subsequently, monitoring in a doctor’s office or self-monitoring of the heart rate should be done every day through at least the first 2 weeks of treatment.

Due to the long half-life of amiodarone, patients discontinuing amiodarone just prior to starting Harvoni, or Sovaldi in combination with another direct-acting antiviral, should also undergo similar cardiac monitoring as outlined above.

Patients taking either Harvoni or Sovaldi combined with another direct-acting antiviral drug with amiodarone should seek medical attention right away if they experience signs or symptoms of symptomatic bradycardia such as:

  • Near-fainting or fainting
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Malaise
  • Weakness
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Confusion or memory problems

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

[03/24/2015 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]

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