FDA approves hep C drug that cuts treatment time to 8 weeks

The FDA expanded approval of a hepatitis C drug that shortens treatment time to eight weeks.

AbbVie's Mavyret tablets treat compensated cirrhosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C who weigh at least 99 pounds. Before approval of this drug, the standard treatment time was at least 12 weeks.

"Mavyret is a combination of direct-acting antiviral drugs that reduce the amount of HCV in the body to undetectable levels by preventing the virus from multiplying, and in most cases, curing HCV infection," said Jeffrey Murray, MD, the FDA's deputy director of the Division of Antiviral Products.

An estimated 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the U.S. have chronic hepatitis C, according to the CDC. The agency estimates 23,000 to 46,000 of those people are children.

The FDA warned that patients with any history of liver decompensation or those taking atazanavir or rifampin should not take Mavyret.

Read the FDA's full news release here.

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