Incivek

1 What is Incivek?

Brand: Incivek

Generic: Telaprevir

Incivek is a medication approved for treatment of certain types of hepatitis C infections. It is approved to treat chronic hepatitis, cases that have failed previous treatments and in patients with liver cirrhosis. Telaprevir is an antiviral drug that works by reducing numbers of hepatitis C viruses in the body. Telaprevir can only be used to treat hepatitis C cases caused by genotype 1 hepatitis C viruses.

Telaprevir must be given with Peginterferon and Ribavirin, which are all antiviral drugs, for treating hepatitis C. Treatment reduces hepatitis C viruses to reduce the development of complications. Telaprevir is a prescription drug.

2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start Incivek, speak with your doctor about what you need to know.

The doctor will consider the following before prescribing Telaprevir to you.

Telaprevir is highly contraindicated in pregnant patients. You must tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, and breastfeeding.

Tell the doctor if you have other health problems, especially liver and kidney conditions, before using Telaprevir. Some conditions that may affect treatment include having HIV infection, immune system problems, anemia, gout, low white blood cells or platelets.

Tell your doctor if you have a history of organ transplants or will be having surgery before taking Telaprevir. 

Mention all the medicines, supplements and herbal products you take to your doctor. Telaprevir has significant interactions with certain drugs.

The safety of Telaprevir in children (individuals below 18 years of age) is not yet known.

Tell your doctor if you experienced allergies to Telaprevir, to other medicines and animal products.

3 Proper Usage

To use Incivek properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

For treatment of hepatitis C, the doctor will instruct you to take Telaprevir, Peginterferon, and Ribavirin.

Only take Telaprevir following doctor’s instructions. All the medications you take come with their respective medication guides. Read the medication guides and ask your doctor if you have questions.

Taking Telaprevir with fatty food enhances absorption. Eat a snack or meal 30 minutes before taking the medicine. The meal or snack must contain about 20 grams of fat, which is available in the following foods:

  • 1 cup nuts
  • Bagel with cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup ice cream
  • 2 ounces cheese
  • 2 ounces potato chips
  • 1 cup trail mix

Always take the medicine at the same time every day. Continue taking the medication even after you feel better. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Swallow Telaprevir tablet whole. Do not chew, crush or dissolve the tablet in liquid. Call your doctor if you have difficulties swallowing.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Incivek, there are some precautions you must take.

Telaprevir can cause severe kidney problems, which you can prevent by staying hydrated. Always drink fluids frequently, even if you are not thirsty. Drink more fluids if you are exercising, doing physical work or staying in hot environments.

Dehydration can cause significant health problems if you are taking Telaprevir. Be on guard against symptoms of dehydration such as thirst, dryness of mouth, dark urine and reduced amount of urine. If you have those symptoms, call your doctor immediately. If you experienced diarrhea, call your doctor for help so you can avoid dehydration.

Telaprevir treats hepatitis C, but it does not stop the spread of the hepatitis C virus through sharing needles, contact with blood or by having sex. You must still use adequate protection like condoms when having sex. Do not share razors, toothbrushes, needles and syringes. Make sure you dispose of sharps properly.

Telaprevir can reduce your body’s resistance against infection. You have to avoid large groups of people and individuals with contagious conditions like colds, flu or other indocfections. If you have symptoms of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat and a rash, call your doctor immediately.

Telaprevir can significantly reduce the amount of platelets in your blood, which can make you more susceptible to bleeding. Avoid activities that risk injury or bruising, such as contact sports, outdoor hiking and doing manual work without adequate safety protection. Watch out for symptoms of internal bleeding, such as passing out dark, starry stools, or bleeding during defecation. If you have those symptoms, call your doctor at once.

If you will receive medical care from another doctor or having dental work done, make sure they know you are using Telaprevir.

You need to take Telaprevir continuously. Interrupting the dose can cause the virus to gain resistance to the drug, so it becomes harder to treat. Do not stop taking it even for a short amount of time. Call your doctor or pharmacist soon if your medicine supply is low.

Telaprevir is harmful to the fetus. It is important that women must not get pregnant when having Telaprevir treatment. There is a possibility that Telaprevir is expressed in semen. Therefore, men must also use protection while taking the drug. Make sure to use two effective forms of birth control while using Telaprevir (like a condom with IUD), and continue using them for 6 months after the end of treatment. Ask your doctor for information on how you can prevent pregnancy while having treatment.

Telaprevir is known to cause birth defects and fetal death when used by pregnant patients. If you became pregnant, or made someone pregnant, while using Telaprevir, call your doctor immediately.

Telaprevir may be harmful to children and babies. Keep medicines out of reach of children. If you are using Telaprevir, do not breastfeed.

Make sure to stick to scheduled clinic visits so the doctor can determine if Telaprevir works for you and to check for side effects. You need to have regular lab tests such as blood cell counts, electrolyte levels and kidney, thyroid, liver tests and uric acid levels during clinic visits. These lab tests may have to continue for several months after stopping treatment. 

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Incivek.

Telaprevir may cause severe side effects such as:

  • Severe allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the mouth, face or tongue, difficulty breathing, itching)
  • Joint pain, especially on the big toe
  • Changes in amount of urine
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual or unexplained tiredness
  • Bleeding tendencies and bruising
  • Severe skin reaction (redness, swelling, peeling or blistering of skin)

If you have any of these severe side effects, call your doctor and head to the nearest hospital immediately.

Here are some of the commonly seen side effects of Telaprevir:

  • Sensation of burning, itching, discomfort or having hemorrhoids in the rectum
  • Changes in taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tiredness

These side effects are not life threatening. You can call your doctor for help in alleviating these side effects.

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