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Why is this medication prescribed?

Sofosbuvir is used along with ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere, others) and sometimes another medication (peginterferon alfa [Pegasys] to treat certain types of chronic hepatitis C (an ongoing viral infection that damages the liver) in adults. Sofosbuvir is also used along with ribavirin to treat certain types of chronic hepatitis C (an ongoing viral infection that damages the liver) in children 12 years of age and older who weight at least 77 pounds (35 kilograms). Sofosbuvir is in a class of antiviral medications called nucleotide polymerase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the body. Sofosbuvir may not prevent the spread of hepatitis C to other people.

How does sofosbuvir work?

Hep C is a disease of the liver that is caused by a virus. A virus is a very tiny germ that makes copies of itself to survive by a process called replication. The Hep C virus has at least six different strains, which are also known as genotypes.

Sofosbuvir is a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medication. DAAs are a group of medications that directly attack the ability of a virus, such as hepatitis C, to make copies of itself.

Sofosbuvir is type of DAA called a nucleotide polymerase inhibitor. It interferes with the reproduction of the virus’ genetic material, stopping the production of new Hep C virus.

Hep C treatment can cure a person from Hep C. However, a person could get infected again.

Side effects

  • difficulty sleeping
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • low blood platelets (thrombocytopenia)
  • low red blood cells and iron in blood (anemia)
  • low white blood cells (neutropenia)
  • nausea

How do people use sofosbuvir?

Sofosbuvir is taken as a 400-mg pill once per day. Sofosbuvir must be used in combination with ribavirin.

Sofosbuvir and ribavirin is approved in Canada for people over the age of 18 with genotype 2 or 3 hepatitis C virus.


Combination therapy

Sofosbuvir must be taken in combination with ribavirin, so all of the warnings that apply to ribavirin also apply to people considering sofosbuvir. For more information on ribavirin, see the ribavirin factsheet.


People with infants and who are taking sofosbuvir should not breastfeed or nurse their children.