If you have hepatitis C virus (HCV), your doctor may prescribe Sovaldi. It’s a prescription drug used in adults and some children to treat certain types of HCV. It’s used with other drugs that also treat HCV.

To learn more about Sovaldi and its uses for HCV, see the “Is Sovaldi used for hepatitis C?” section below.

Sovaldi basics

Sovaldi contains the active ingredient sofosbuvir. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Sovaldi isn’t available as a generic drug.

Sovaldi comes as tablets that you swallow. It’s also available as pellets that you can either swallow whole or sprinkle on food.

Read about Sovaldi’s uses, side effects, and more below.

Sovaldi is used with ribavirin alone or with ribavirin and peginterferon to treat certain types of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Specifically, Sovaldi is used in adults to treat chronic HCV that is genotype 1, 2, 3, or 4. (“Genotype” means the specific strain of the virus.) Sovaldi is also used in children ages 3 years and older with chronic HCV that’s genotype 2 or 3.

For adults and children, Sovaldi is used to treat HCV without cirrhosis (liver scarring) or with cirrhosis that’s not causing symptoms.

Sovaldi treats hepatitis C by blocking an enzyme (protein) that the virus needs to make copies of itself. This lowers the amount of HCV in your body to a level that can’t be detected with a blood test.

About chronic HCV

HCV is a virus that causes swelling in the liver. Over time, HCV can lead to a chronic (long-term) infection in the liver. Chronic HCV may cause cirrhosis and liver failure.

Symptoms of chronic HCV can include:

Like most drugs, Sovaldi may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on your age, other health conditions you have, and other drugs you take. For example, Sovaldi’s side effects can vary depending on whether you take it with ribavirin alone or with ribavirin and peginterferon.

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Sovaldi. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Sovaldi can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Sovaldi’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects of Sovaldi when taken with ribavirin alone include:

Mild side effects of Sovaldi when taken with ribavirin and peginterferon include:

  • insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • headache

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Sovaldi can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Sovaldi, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Serious side effects of Sovaldi when taken with ribavirin alone or with ribavirin and peginterferon include:

* Sovaldi has a boxed warning for this side effect. To learn more, see the “Boxed warning” section at the beginning of this article.
† To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Sovaldi.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Sovaldi. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Find answers below to some commonly asked questions about Sovaldi.

Can you take Sovaldi and Daklinza or Sovaldi and Olysio?

In the past, some people may have taken daclatasvir (Daklinza) or simeprevir (Olysio) with Sovaldi. Daklinza and Olysio were drugs that also treated certain types of hepatitis C virus (HCV).

But Daklinza and Olysio are no longer available. For this reason, you won’t take Sovaldi with these medications.

Your doctor will choose the best combination of drugs for you based on the genotype (strain) of HCV you have, your liver function, and your medical history.

Are there long-term side effects of Sovaldi?

No, long-term side effects from Sovaldi aren’t likely. But for a while after your treatment ends, you’ll continue having certain blood tests to check your liver function. This is because you may have liver damage after being infected with HCV, even after taking Sovaldi.

If you have questions about how long the side effects of Sovaldi could last, talk with your doctor.

Will I have side effects after treatment with Sovaldi?

No, you shouldn’t have any side effects after you stop taking Sovaldi. In studies, people taking Sovaldi didn’t report side effects after finishing their treatment.

But it’s important to note that Sovaldi could cause a reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV). And this can lead to symptoms of HBV that continue after your Sovaldi treatment ends. Sovaldi has a boxed warning for HBV reactivation. To learn more, see the “Boxed warning” section at the beginning of this article.

If you have questions about what to expect after you stop taking Sovaldi, talk with your doctor.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Sovaldi that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Forms and strengths

Sovaldi comes as tablets that you swallow. It’s also available as pellets that you can either swallow whole or sprinkle on food.

Sovaldi tablets come in two strengths: 400 milligrams (mg) and 200 mg. The oral pellets also come in two strengths: 200 mg and 150 mg.

Recommended dosages

The Sovaldi dosage your doctor prescribes for you will depend on the genotype (strain) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) you have. It may also depend on other factors, such as if you have liver cancer and are waiting for a liver transplant.

For children, their Sovaldi dosage depends on the strain of HCV they have and their body weight. Your child’s doctor will determine what their dosage should be.

You’ll take Sovaldi once daily. You can take it with or without food. You can take Sovaldi at any time of day, but try to take it at the same time every day. This helps keep a consistent level of the drug in your body. You’ll typically take it at the same time as other drugs in your treatment regimen, such as ribavirin and peginterferon.

Questions about Sovaldi’s dosage

Below are some common questions about Sovaldi’s dosage.

  • What if I miss a dose of Sovaldi? If you miss a dose of Sovaldi, take the dose as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at its regular time. You shouldn’t take two doses of Sovaldi at once. Doing so could raise your risk of side effects.
  • Will I need to use Sovaldi long term? No, Sovaldi is typically used short term. Your doctor will prescribe Sovaldi for either 12 weeks or 24 weeks, depending on the genotype (strain) of HCV you have and your health history. People with liver cancer who are waiting for a liver transplant may take Sovaldi for as long as 48 weeks.
  • How long does Sovaldi take to work? Sovaldi starts working right after you take your first dose. Some people may have their hepatitis symptoms eased after only days or weeks of taking the medication. But even if you notice your symptoms are relieved, it’s important to keep taking Sovaldi for as long as your doctor has prescribed it.

Some important things to discuss with your doctor when considering Sovaldi treatment include your overall health and any medical conditions you may have.

Interactions

Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking Sovaldi, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Sovaldi.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Sovaldi can interact with several types of drugs, including:

  • St. John’s wort, an herbal supplement
  • the HIV drug tipranavir (Aptivus)*
  • certain seizure medications, such as:
    • phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek)
    • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol)
    • oxcarbazepine (Oxtellar XR, Trileptal)
    • phenobarbital
  • amiodarone (Nexterone, Pacerone), a heart rhythm drug
  • certain antibiotics, such as:
    • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
    • rifabutin (Mycobutin)
    • rifapentine (Priftin)

This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Sovaldi. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with use of Sovaldi.

* Tipranavir is used with another HIV drug called ritonavir (Norvir). However, there isn’t a known interaction between Sovaldi and ritonavir.

Boxed warning

Sovaldi has a boxed warning for the risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about drug effects that may be dangerous.

If you’ve had HBV before, Sovaldi could make the virus reactivate (flare up) in your body.

To learn more, see the “Boxed warning” section at the beginning of this article.

Other warnings

Sovaldi may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Sovaldi. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

  • Kidney problems. It isn’t known whether Sovaldi is safe or effective for people with serious kidney disease, such as kidney failure. If you have serious kidney disease, talk with your doctor about whether Sovaldi is the right drug for you. They may prescribe a different medication.
  • Liver problems, including liver transplant. It isn’t known whether Sovaldi is safe or effective for people who have certain liver problems. Talk with your doctor if you have liver problems other than hepatitis C. Examples include having had a liver transplant in the past or having cirrhosis (liver scarring) that’s causing symptoms. Your doctor may choose a different medication to treat your condition. And if you have liver cancer and are waiting for a liver transplant, they may also give you a different dosage of Sovaldi than what’s usually prescribed.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Sovaldi or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Sovaldi. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.

Sovaldi and alcohol

There are no known interactions between Sovaldi and alcohol. But drinking alcohol can raise the risk of cirrhosis (liver scarring) in people with hepatitis C virus (HCV). (Sovaldi is used to treat HCV.) Because of this risk, your doctor may recommend avoiding alcohol while taking Sovaldi.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor before taking Sovaldi.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It’s not known whether Sovaldi is safe to use during pregnancy. But it’s important to note that Sovaldi is taken with ribavirin, which is not safe to take while pregnant. This is because ribavirin can cause harm to a fetus or pregnancy loss.

If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while taking Sovaldi.

According to HCV guidelines from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, doctors typically suggest waiting until after pregnancy to treat HCV. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking Sovaldi.

It’s also not known whether it’s safe to use Sovaldi while breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor before taking this drug.

Your doctor will explain how you should take Sovaldi. They will also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Taking Sovaldi

Sovaldi comes as tablets that you swallow. It’s also available as pellets that you can either swallow whole or sprinkle on food. To learn more about how to use Sovaldi pellets, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Accessible medication containers and labels

If it’s hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies may provide medication labels that:

  • have large print
  • use braille
  • contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

Also, if you’re having trouble opening your medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to put Sovaldi in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also recommend tools to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

Taking Sovaldi with other drugs

Doctors typically prescribe Sovaldi with other medications to treat hepatitis C. You may take Sovaldi with ribavirin alone or with ribavirin and peginterferon. Your doctor will determine which other drugs you’ll take with Sovaldi based on your medical history and the genotype (strain) of HCV you have. (To learn more, see the “What is Sovaldi’s dosage?” section above.)

Questions about taking Sovaldi

Below are some common questions about taking Sovaldi.

  • Can Sovaldi be chewed, crushed, or split? The manufacturer does not state whether Sovaldi tablets can be split, crushed, or chewed. If you or your child have trouble swallowing tablets, the pellet form of Sovaldi may be an option. You can either swallow the pellets whole or sprinkle them on food. You can read more about how to use Sovaldi pellets in the prescribing information.
  • Should I take Sovaldi with food? You can take Sovaldi with or without food.
Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Sovaldi and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Sovaldi affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Sovaldi and Harvoni both treat certain types of chronic hepatitis C virus. Both of these drugs contain the active ingredient sofobuvir, but Harvoni also contains ledipasvir. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)

To find out more about these medications, see this side-by-side comparison. Also, talk with your doctor to see which treatment option might be right for you.

Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. To find current prices for Sovaldi tablets (or other forms) in your area, visit GoodRx.com.

Sovaldi isn’t available as a generic drug. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. A program to help lower the cost of Sovaldi is available.

You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.

Do not take more Sovaldi than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects. Do not take more than one dose of Sovaldi in a day.

What to do in case you take too much Sovaldi

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Sovaldi. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

Sovaldi is a medication that treats hepatitis C virus (HCV). If you’re interested in taking this drug, talk with your doctor to see if it’s right for you.

You can learn more about HCV and its treatment options by reading the following articles:

If you have additional questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Here are a few questions to get you started.

  • Does Sovaldi cure HCV?
  • Should I take the Sovaldi tablet or the pellets?
  • Will Sovaldi interact with any of my current medications or supplements?
  • Can Sovaldi make my insomnia worse?

Q:

When my hepatitis C virus (HCV) is treated, will my liver start working better? How will that affect my other medications?

Anonymous

A:

Yes, taking Sovaldi could make your liver work better. This could lead to your other medications having a stronger effect. These effects were reported by people who took Sovaldi after its release onto the market.

Examples of other drugs that could be affected include:

  • drugs for high blood sugar, such as glimepiride (Amaryl) or pioglitazone (Actos)
  • the blood thinner warfarin (Jantoven)
  • drugs that you may take if you have both HIV and HCV, such as tipranavir (Aptivus)

Before starting treatment with Sovaldi, talk with your doctor about all the medications you take. Your doctor may monitor your liver function during and after your Sovaldi treatment to see if any changes to your other medications are needed.

The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.