Sovaldi (Sofosbuvir) - Oral

What Is Sovaldi?

Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) is an antiviral drug used to treat chronic hepatitis C infection. It is often prescribed with ribavirin or pegylated interferon (another hepatitis treatment). Sovaldi belongs to a class of drugs called nucleotide polymerase inhibitors.

Sofosbuvir works by preventing the hepatitis C virus (HCV) from multiplying, reducing the amount of HCV in your body. However, it may not effectively stop the spread of hepatitis C to others.

This medication is available in oral tablets and pellets to be taken by mouth. You can only receive Sovaldi by prescription.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Sofosbuvir

Brand Name(s): Sovaldi

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Oral

Therapeutic Classification: Antiviral

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Sofosbuvir

Dosage Form(s): Tablet, pellets

What Is Sovaldi Used For?

Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) is used with ribavirin to treat chronic hepatitis C infection. The length of treatment with sofosbuvir is based on the strain of the virus.

Chronic HCV is a long-lasting infection that occurs when your body can't fight off the virus. It is characterized by liver inflammation that lasts for six months or longer. Treating chronic HCV is important for preventing serious health problems, such as liver damage.

The virus may reactivate in people who have had hepatitis B or who carry the virus during or after treatment with drugs like Sovaldi. This can result in severe and fatal liver issues or death. Hence, your healthcare provider will test you for hepatitis B before using this drug.

How to Take Sovaldi

When taking sofosbuvir tablets, you can take them with or without food. It is usually prescribed to take at the same time each day.

Pellets can also be taken with or without food. However, to prevent a bitter aftertaste, you could pour the contents of the packet directly into your mouth and swallow it without chewing. If necessary, drink water afterward.

If taking the pellets with food, mix one spoonful of non-acidic soft foods (e.g., mashed potatoes, pudding, ice cream, chocolate syrup) at or below room temperature with the contents of the package. Swallow the mixture within 30 minutes of mixing. Toss any leftovers after 30 minutes.

Take this drug exactly the way your healthcare provider tells you to. It is crucial that you do not miss or skip a dose of this medication.

Storage

Store at room temperature below 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in its original container away from moisture in a dry place. Do not store it in a bathroom. Keep all your medicines away from pets and children.

Discard all unused and expired drugs. Do not throw them down your toilet, drain, or sink. Instead, ask your pharmacist about the best way to dispose of your medicine. There may be local drug take-back locations near you.

How Long Does Sovaldi Take to Work?

Sovaldi takes between 30 minutes and two hours to peak in your body. It can take between 12 and 24 weeks for the medication to be effective.

What Are the Side Effects of Sovaldi?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Sovaldi may cause little to no side effects in some people. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if your side effects do not go away or become bothersome. Some common side effects include:

Severe Side Effects

Contact your healthcare provider immediately If you have any severe side effects. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency or if your symptoms appear to be life-threatening. Serious side effects of sofosbuvir include:

  • Severe loss of strength and energy
  • Liver problems: Signs may include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), dark urine, vomiting, abdominal pain, light-colored stools, fatigue, lack of appetite, and nausea.
  • Allergic reactions: Signs can include wheezing, itching, rash, hives, tightness in the chest or throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, and unusual hoarseness.

This is not a complete list of all possible adverse effects. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting Sovaldi to learn more about any potential risks.

Report Side Effects

Sovaldi may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much of Sovaldi Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (pellets or tablets):
    • For hepatitis C virus infection, in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin:
      • Adults—400 milligrams (mg) once a day, taken for 12 or 24 weeks.
      • Children 3 years of age and older weighing at least 35 kilograms (kg)—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually one 400 mg tablet once a day or two 200 mg tablets once a day, or two 200 mg packets of pellets once a day, taken for 12 or 24 weeks.
      • Children 3 years of age and older weighing 17 to less than 35 kg—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually one 200 mg tablet once a day or one 200 mg packet of pellets once a day, taken for 12 or 24 weeks.
      • Children 3 years of age and older weighing less than 17 kg—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually one 150 mg packet of pellets once a day, taken for 12 or 24 weeks.
      • Children younger than 3 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Due to the possible effects of this medication, there may be changes to how it is used. Therefore, users need to be aware of the following when taking Sovaldi:

Diabetes: Your risk for hypoglycemia increases with Sovaldi, especially within the first three months. Your healthcare provider may have to adjust the dosing of your diabetes medications to reduce this risk.

Amiodarone use: Sovaldi increases the side effects of amiodarone. It causes a very low heart rate (bradycardia), sometimes requiring a pacemaker. Bradycardia may happen within hours or days to up to two weeks after taking these drugs together. It typically goes away once you stop sofosbuvir. Seek medical help if you experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Fainting or near-fainting dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Weakness
  • Memory issues

Pregnancy: Sovaldi may cross the placenta. Hence, people with HCV who are of childbearing potential should consider postponing pregnancy until treatment is done to lower the risk of transferring the virus to the fetus.

Breastfeeding: It is unknown if Sovaldi passes through breast milk, and there is no link between breastfeeding and the spread of the hepatitis C virus. However, since HCV is spread by infected blood, do not breastfeed if your nipples are cracked or bleeding. Also, breastfeeding is not advised if you have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection.

Missed Dose

It is important not to miss or skip a dose of this medication during treatment. If you miss a dose, take it once you remember. If you do not remember the dose you missed until the next day, skip the missed dose. Go back to your regular schedule. Do not take more than one dose of this medicine on the same day. Call your healthcare provider if you're unsure what to do if you miss a dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Use Too Much Sovaldi?

If you think you've overdosed on Sovaldi, contact your healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center. There is no specific antidote to treat a sofosbuvir overdose; you may need to be monitored for potential toxicity or adverse events.

What Happens If I Overdose on Sovaldi?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Sovaldi, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Sovaldi, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine together with ribavirin while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. These medicines may also cause birth defects if the father is using it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using these medicines, tell your doctor right away.

Using this medicine with amiodarone may cause bradycardia. Check with your doctor right away if you have chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting, shortness of breath, slow or uneven heartbeat, or unusual tiredness.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Sovaldi?

Do not take Sovaldi with ribavirin or peginterferon if you are pregnant or have a pregnant partner.

What Other Medications Interact With Sovaldi?

Certain medications affect how well Sovaldi works.

The following medications are not recommended to take with Sovaldi:

  • Anticonvulsants (drugs used to treat seizure disorders) such as Trileptal (oxcarbazepine), Mysoline (primidone), and phenobarbital
  • Antimycobacterials (drugs used to treat Mycobacterium infections) such as Mycobutin (rifabutin) and Priftin (rifapentine)
  • HIV protease inhibitors like Aptivus (tipranavir)
  • Antiarrhythmics (drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms) such as amiodarone

This is not a complete list of drug interactions that can occur with Sovaldi. Consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a full list of potential interactions.

What Medications Are Similar?

Medications similar to sofosbuvir used to treat chronic hepatitis C infections include:

This list lists drugs also prescribed to treat chronic hepatitis C infections. It is NOT a list of medicines recommended to take with Sovaldi. Do not take these drugs together unless your healthcare provider tells you to.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Sovaldi used to treat?

    Sovaldi is used to treat hepatitis C infection. It is often prescribed in combination with ribavirin or pegylated interferon.

  • What is the common side effect of Sovaldi?

    Common side effects of Sovaldi are nausea, headache, and trouble sleeping.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Sovaldi?

    Try not to miss or skip a dose of this drug while using it. If you forget to take your dose, do so as soon as you remember. If you don't remember the missed dose until the next day, skip it and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take more than a dose of this medicine on the same day. Call your healthcare provider if you are unsure what to do if you miss a dose.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Sovaldi?

Hepatitis C can be managed by regularly taking your medication. However, Sovaldi may cause mild side effects, like headache and nausea, and severe side effects are also possible. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects experienced while on your treatment.

Additionally, HCV treatments can be costly. If you have trouble affording your medication or do not have health insurance, consider looking into payment assistance programs.

Always remember, you are not alone. Joining a support group near you can help provide emotional support as you cope with living with hepatitis C. Your healthcare team is also available for any questions or concerns you have about your treatment or lifestyle adjustments.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) tablets, for oral use.

  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hepatitis C.

  3. McQuaid T, Savini C, Seyedkazemi S. Sofosbuvir, a significant paradigm change in HCV treatment. J Clin Transl Hepatol. 2015;3(1):27-35. doi:10.14218/JCTH.2014.00041

  4. Dawood AA, Nooh MZ, Elgamal AA. Factors associated with improved glycemic control by direct-acting antiviral agent treatment in Egyptian type 2 diabetes mellitus patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4. Diabetes Metab J. 2017;41(4):316-321. doi:10.4093/dmj.2017.41.4.316

  5. Hum J, Jou JH, Green PK, et al. Improvement in glycemic control of type 2 diabetes after successful treatment of hepatitis C virus. Diabetes Care. 2017;40(9):1173-1180. doi:10.2337/dc17-0485

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis B or C infections.

By Queen Buyalos, PharmD
Queen Buyalos is a pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She takes pride in advocating for cancer prevention, overall health, and mental health education. Queen enjoys counseling and educating patients about drug therapy and translating complex ideas into simple language.