Patients with chronic hepatitis C have a new option for treating the liver-damaging virus, with the approval of a combination treatment developed by AbbVie.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of a packaged treatment called Viekira (vee-KEE'-rah) Pak made by AbbVie Inc. of North Chicago, Illinois.
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It includes a combination pill, which contains the antiviral drugs ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir, along with a tablet of dasabuvir. All the ingredients are new except for ritonavir, which works to increase blood levels of paritaprevir.
It's among several new pill-only hepatitis C treatments that are big improvements over earlier treatments that are less effective, require injections and cause flu-like side effects.
About 3.2 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C, which generally doesn't cause noticeable symptoms until the liver is damaged.