The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the two types of Hepatitis C drugs for release last week. The drugs, which were formulated for children 12-years-old and older, paved a way for the elimination of the virus from the system at an earlier time.
FDA approved the reproduction and the release of two Hepatitis C drugs specifically formulated for children. The agency's gesture to provide an alternative cure for children diagnosed with Hepatitis C aimed to give the children better chances of recovery.
More than 45,000 children are infected with Hepatitis C in the United states alone. The blood-borne infection causes inflammation of the liver, which can lead to death if left untreated, according to NPR.
The number of people diagnosed with Hepatitis C significantly increased over the years. More than 3 million adults tested positive for the condition, which is often acquired from sharing the needles being used for opioid consumption and other drugs.
"It's great news for our kids," Dr. Jessica Wen, medical director for the viral hepatitis clinical care program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said during an interview. "Historically every new medication that's approved for adults, there's always a lag for pediatrics and the wait can be as long as a decade."
FDA's approval changed the landscape for the treatment of Hepatitis C, according to Dr. Edward Cox. Both drugs, Solvaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir, sofosbuvir), which were already been approved for adult consumption can now be prescribed to kids 12-years-old and above, as reported by Medline Plus.
Children who were diagnosed with Hepatitis C are less likely to suffer liver damage compared to adults who contacted the virus at a later age. Health care providers urge couples and parents to make sure that they are free from the virus before gestation to avoid future complications.
The price tags for both drugs Solvaldi and Harvoni are still being negotiated. Common side effects of both drugs include fatigue and headache, especially in children.