Newer hepatitis C treatment options cause far fewer side effects than older medications. In many cases, these side effects go away when you finish treatment.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes a viral infection that damages the liver. It typically causes an acute infection.

In some cases, the initial infection may clear without treatment. In many cases, the infection becomes chronic (long-lasting). Without treatment, hepatitis C can cause liver damage over time.

It can be difficult for the immune system to fight HCV. In many cases, treatment may cure hepatitis C.

Read on to learn more about hepatitis C treatments and their side effects.

The main types of HCV medications doctors prescribe today are direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) and ribavirin.

In rare cases when DAAs are not accessible, doctors may prescribe interferons.


Today, DAAs are the standard of care for chronic hepatitis C. Unlike previous treatments, which could only help people manage their condition, DAAs can cure HCV infection at a much higher rate.

These drugs may be available as individual drugs or as part of a combination therapy. All of these medications are taken orally.

DAAs include:

  • sofosbuvir (Sovaldi)
  • sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (Epclusa)
  • ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (Harvoni)
  • glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (Mavyret)
  • sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir (Vosevi)
  • elbasvir/grazoprevir (Zepatier)


Ribavirin is a medication used with other drugs to treat HCV. Doctors used to prescribe it primarily with interferons. Today, it’s used with certain DAAs for resistant HCV infection. Ribavirin is often used with Zepatier and Harvoni.


Interferons are medications that used to be the primary treatment for HCV. In recent years, DAAs have taken over that role. That’s largely because DAAs cause far fewer side effects than interferons do. DAAs are also able to cure HCV with higher frequency.

Side effects vary according to the type of drug used to treat HCV.


DAAs don’t cause the number of side effects that interferons do. They’re more targeted and don’t affect as many systems in your body.

Side effects of DAAs can include:

  • anemia
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • slow heart rate
  • raised liver markers, which can indicate liver problems


Common side effects of ribavirin can include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • rash
  • changes in your ability to taste
  • memory loss
  • trouble concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • muscle pain
  • hemolytic anemia

A more serious side effect of ribavirin relates to pregnancy. Experts recommend using two forms of birth control while taking ribavirin if you or your partner can become pregnant:

  • For people who can become pregnant: Ribavirin may cause severe birth defects if you take it while pregnant or become pregnant while taking it.
  • If you could cause your partner to become pregnant: Ribavirin may also cause birth defects if your partner becomes pregnant while you are taking the medication.


Common side effects of interferons can include:

  • dry mouth
  • excessive fatigue
  • headache
  • mood changes, such as anxiety or depression
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss
  • hair loss
  • worsening hepatitis symptoms

Other more serious side effects of interferons can happen over time. These side effects may include:

  • autoimmune disorders
  • reduced red and white blood cell levels, which can lead to anemia and infection
  • high blood pressure
  • reduced thyroid function
  • changes in vision
  • liver disease
  • lung disease
  • inflammation of your bowel or pancreas
  • allergic reaction
  • slowed growth in children

Are there side effects to hep C treatment?

DAAs for hepatitis C cause fewer side effects than older treatments. Potential side effects may include fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and anemia.

How will I feel after hep C treatment?

You may have side effects from hepatitis C treatment. You may feel more tired than usual or have diarrhea, nausea, or headaches.

Can hep C be cured completely?

In many cases, newer medications can cure hepatitis C. However, they cannot undo liver damage due to the virus.

Can you work during hep C treatment?

You can work during treatment for hepatitis C. But you may have some side effects that can affect your energy levels and how well you feel to perform your job.

In the past, severe side effects from interferons led many people to stop their HCV treatment. But now that DAAs are the standard of care, this is no longer the case.

DAAs cause far fewer side effects than interferons do, and many of those they do cause often go away with time.

If you’re being treated for HCV and have side effects that bother or concern you, be sure to talk with a doctor. They can help relieve these side effects by reducing your dosage or switching you to another medication.