Frequently Asked Questions
- What is INCIVEK Triple Therapy?
INCIVEK® (telaprevir) is a prescription medicine used with the medicines peginterferon alfa and ribavirin to treat chronic (lasting a long time) hepatitis C genotype 1 infection in adults with stable liver problems, who have not been treated before, or who have failed previous treatment. It is not approved for any other genotype. Ask your healthcare provider what genotype you have.
It is not known if INCIVEK is safe and effective in children under 18 years of age.
- Who should not take INCIVEK?
Do not take INCIVEK if you are pregnant or may become pregnant, or if you are a man with a sexual partner who is pregnant.
- Alfuzosin hydrochloride (Uroxatral®)
- Carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Equetro®, Tegretol®)
- Cisapride (Propulsid®)
- Dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®)
- Ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot®, Migergot®, Ergomar®, Ergostat, Medihaler Ergotamine, Wigraine, Wigrettes)
- Methylergonovine maleate (Ergotrate®, Methergine®)
- Lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®)
- Midazolam when taken by mouth
- Phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®)
- Pimozide (Orap®)
- Rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®)
- Sildenafil citrate (Revatio®) or tadalafil (Adcirca®) for the lung problem pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH)
- Simvastatin (Zocor®, Vytorin®, Simcor®)
- St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) or products containing St. John's wort
- Triazolam (Halcion®)
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. INCIVEK and other medicines can affect each other. Your healthcare provider may need to change the amount of medicines you take.
- What are the side effects of INCIVEK Triple Therapy?
INCIVEK Triple Therapy may cause serious side effects, including:
- Skin rash and serious skin reactions. Skin rashes are common with INCIVEK Triple Therapy. Sometimes these skin rashes and other skin reactions can become serious, require treatment in a hospital, and may lead to death
Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop any skin changes or itching during treatment with INCIVEK. Your healthcare provider will decide if your skin changes or any of the following symptoms may be a sign of a serious skin reaction:
- Skin rash with or without itching, fever, swelling of your face, blisters or skin lesions, mouth sores or ulcers, or red or inflamed eyes, like "pink eye" (conjunctivitis)
- Your healthcare provider will decide if you need treatment for your skin rash or if you need to stop taking INCIVEK or any of your other medicines
- Never stop taking INCIVEK Triple Therapy without talking with your healthcare provider first
- Low red blood cell count (anemia) that can be severe. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms of anemia:
- Dizziness, shortness of breath, tiredness, or weakness
- Your healthcare provider will do blood tests regularly to check your red blood cell count during treatment
- If your anemia is severe, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking INCIVEK. If this happens, do not start taking it again
- Birth defects or death of an unborn baby. INCIVEK combined with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin may cause birth defects or death of your unborn baby. If you or your sexual partner is pregnant or plan to become pregnant, do not take these medicines. You or your partner should not become pregnant while taking INCIVEK with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin and for 6 months after treatment is over
- If you are a female who can become pregnant, or if you are a female whose male partner takes these medicines:
- You must have a negative pregnancy test before starting treatment, every month during treatment, and for 6 months after your treatment ends
- You must use 2 effective methods of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after all treatment has ended. These 2 forms of birth control should not contain hormones, as these may not work during treatment with INCIVEK. Talk to your healthcare provider about the forms of birth control you should use during this time
- Two weeks after stopping INCIVEK, you can use a hormonal form of birth control as one of your two forms of birth control
- If you or your partner becomes pregnant during treatment or within 6 months after stopping these medicines, tell your healthcare provider right away. Contact the Ribavirin Pregnancy Registry right away by calling 1-800-593-2214. The Registry collects information about what happens to mothers and their babies if the mother takes ribavirin while pregnant
Click here for tips to help manage some of these serious side effects.
Common side effects of INCIVEK Triple Therapy
The most common side effects include itching, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, anal or rectal problems (including hemorrhoids, discomfort or burning around or near the anus, itching around or near the anus), taste changes, and tiredness.
It is important to stay hydrated with fluids during INCIVEK Triple Therapy. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine frequency or volume, and dark colored urine.
Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or doesn't go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of INCIVEK. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
- How can I prevent pregnancy while on treatment?
- A male condom with spermicidal jelly OR a female condom with spermicidal jelly (a combination of a male condom and a female condom is not suitable)
- A diaphragm with spermicidal jelly
- A cervical cap with spermicidal jelly
- An intrauterine device (IUD)
- Can INCIVEK be taken alone?
Do not take INCIVEK alone to treat chronic hepatitis C infection. It must be used with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin to treat chronic hepatitis C infection.
- How should I take INCIVEK?
- Take INCIVEK exactly as your healthcare provider tells you
- Take 3 INCIVEK pills (a dose) 2 times a day. Each dose should be taken 10 to 14 hours apart, with food. Eat a meal or snack containing about 20 grams of fat within 30 minutes before you take each dose of INCIVEK (refer to the next question below to learn what kind of food you should eat when taking INCIVEK)
- INCIVEK cannot be taken alone. You will also need a once-weekly peginterferon alfa injection and to take ribavirin as your healthcare provider has prescribed
- Do not stop taking INCIVEK unless your healthcare provider tells you to. If you think there is a reason to stop taking INCIVEK, talk with your healthcare provider before doing so
- If your healthcare provider tells you to stop taking INCIVEK, you should not start taking it again even if the reason for stopping goes away
- If you take too much INCIVEK, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away
- What kind of food should I eat when taking INCIVEK?
- Eat a meal or snack that has about 20 grams of fat
- Be sure to eat that food within 30 minutes before taking each dose of INCIVEK
- A bagel with 4 tablespoons of cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 1 cup of ice cream
- 1/2 cup of trail mix
Of course, don't eat any foods that you are allergic to. Also, keep in mind any dietary restrictions you may have.
Learn more about foods you can eat with INCIVEK.
- Why do I have to take INCIVEK 10 to 14 hours apart?
For INCIVEK Triple Therapy to work, you need to take it at the times your healthcare provider tells you to. This is because you need to have a steady amount of it in your body throughout your treatment.
- What should I do if I forget to take INCIVEK?
- If you miss a dose within 6 hours of when you usually take it, take your dose with food as soon as possible
- If you miss a dose and it is more than 6 hours after the time you usually take it, skip that dose only and take your next dose at your normal time
- How long will my INCIVEK Triple Therapy last?
- For the first 12 weeks of therapy, you will take INCIVEK with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin
- The INCIVEK part of your treatment is complete at week 12. You will continue taking peginterferon alfa and ribavirin alone for another 12 or 36 weeks, depending on your treatment history, liver health, and response
- You will have lab tests to check how much of the virus is in your blood (viral load) throughout your treatment, including at weeks 4, 12, and 24. These lab tests will determine how INCIVEK Triple Therapy is working for you. Based on these results and your treatment history, your healthcare provider will either:
- Continue your treatment if it is working and decide how long your treatment will be
- Stop your treatment if it is not working
- Will I need to have lab tests, and if so, how often?
Certain lab tests, along with your treatment history and liver health, help your healthcare provider understand how and if your body is responding to treatment and help them decide how long your treatment will be. Other lab tests help your healthcare provider see if you are having certain side effects.
- Your viral load. A viral load tells your healthcare provider how much of the hepatitis C virus is in your blood
- If you have anemia (low red blood cell count)
- If you have certain other side effects
Some of these tests should be before you start treatment and will be at least at weeks 2, 4, 8, and 12 during INCIVEK Triple Therapy. Your healthcare provider may do earlier and more frequent testing. If your body is not responding to treatment or you experience side effects that are severe at any point, your healthcare provider may stop your treatment.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your lab tests.
- Can I infect another person with the hepatitis C virus
It is not known if treatment with INCIVEK Triple Therapy will prevent you from infecting another person with the hepatitis C virus while you’re on treatment or if you do not respond to treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to avoid infecting others.
- How can I relieve itching without scratching?
- Pat the itchy area with the flat of your hand
- Pinch the itchy area with your fingertips (not too hard)
- Put something cold on the itchy area (like ice cubes or frozen peas, wrapped in a towel or cloth)
Click here for more tips on how to keep your skin healthy during treatment, or call your healthcare provider.
- How should I store INCIVEK?
INCIVEK does not need to be refrigerated. Store your INCIVEK pills at room temperature between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). Keep INCIVEK and all medicines out of the reach of children.
- Where can I find out about insurance coverage and paying
Our reimbursement specialists are available to help you understand your insurance coverage, cost of therapy, and if you are eligible to receive financial assistance from Vertex. If you need help paying for INCIVEK, click here or call 1-855-VERTEXGPS (1-855-837-8394) to find out how we can help.
- Do you offer any assistance if I have trouble getting my INCIVEK medication?
As part of Vertex GPS services, we may be able to assist eligible patients who either experience or will experience a delay receiving their INCIVEK medication from their pharmacy through our GPS Emergency Supply Program.
To access this service and learn more, please call Vertex GPS at