The Hepalogue

Key to Acronyms and Hep C Related Terminology used in The Hepalogue

by The Golden Phaeton on 13/06/2016

(NB – This page will gradually incorporate more links and further items.)


AbbVie – Makers of the Viekira Pak. Currently trialling a new, very promising cocktail of two DAAs.

AIVL -Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League. Based in Canberra, this is the ‘peak body’ uniting the various state-based users organisations.

ALT – Alanine transaminase – an enzyme which, when measured in the blood, can reveal the presence of liver inflammation. A high level points to a high level of pathological HCV activity in the liver. A low level the opposite.

AOD – Alcohol & Other Drugs

APRI – AST to platelet Ratio Index. A quick test used to ascertain liver condition, usually in the absence of more accurate tests (ie FibroScan)

ARCSHS – The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) is ‘a centre for social research into sexuality, health and the social dimensions of human relationships’ operating out of LaTrobe University.

AST – Aspartate Transaminase – an enzyme used to determine liver health.

BBV – Blood Borne Virus. ie HCV, HBV, HIV

Biopsy – See Liver Biopsy

Brain Fog – A fogginess of the mind reported by many sufferers of Hep C.

BMS – Bristol-Myers Squibb, makers of Daclatasvir (Daklinza).

Bristol-Myers Squibb – See BMS

Cirrhosis – Significant loss of liver function due to a replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue. Usually, it develops over a number of years, it can be caused by chronic hepatitis C. The term is derived from the Greek kirrhós (tawny) and refers to the distinctive yellowish colour of livers in patients with this condition (see: Decompensated Cirrhosis, Compensated Cirrhosis)

DAA – Direct Acting Antiviral. Most of the new Hep C drugs fall into this category.

Daclatasvir – A NS5A inhibiting DAA made by BMS. Taken with Sofosbuvir to treat Genotype 3.

Daklinza – The brand name of Daclatasvir.

Dasabuvir – A DAA. One of the four drugs in the Viekira Pak.

Decompensated Cirrhosis – Extreme, late-stage cirrhosis defined by such symptoms as jaundice, ascites, rupture of varices (abnormally dilated veins – in Hep C patients it is usually caused by Portal Vein Hypertension) or hepatic encephalopathy (brain fog on steroids. Caused by inability of the liver to filter toxins). Those with this diagnosis have a poor chance of survival unless a liver transplant is performed.

ElbasvirA DAA. ‘A highly potent and selective inhibitor of the HCV NS5a replication complex.’ Combined with Grazoprevir it is sold by Merck & Co as Zepatier.

EpclusaThe brand name of a single pill treatment produced by Gilead Sciences. It contains Sofosbuvir and Velpatasvir and is effective across all genotypes of HCV. Not currently available in Australia.

EOT – End of Treatment

FibroScan -A non-invasive ultrasound test which determines elasticity of the liver and thus the level of fibrosis

Fibrosis – Scarring of the liver.

Fix Hep C – A buyers club based in Australia which exports generic Hep C treatments from India and Bangladesh for individual patients around the world.

Genotype – Sub-species of the Hep C virus. Genotypes 1 and 3 are the most common in Australia.

Gilead Sciences – Makers of Harvoni, Sovaldi and Epclusa.

Grazoprevir – A DAA. Combined with Elbasvir it is sold by Merck & Co as Zepatier.

Harvoni – Combination therapy for Hep C genotype 1, containing Sofosbuvir and Ledipasvir. Owned by Gilead Sciences.

Hepatitis B – A form of viral Hepatitis which is widespread across the globe. Though it is not curable (like Hep C) there are drugs which effectively contain it if taken regularly, and there is a vaccine (which in Australia is administered in infancy). Since HBV is bloodborne many of those with Hep C have also been exposed to Hep B . It is advised that those in high-risk groups be tested for the virus, then vaccinated or prescribed treatment.

HBV – Hepatitis B Virus. The virus which causes Hepatitis B.

HCC  – Hepatocellular carcinoma; cancer of the liver

HCV – Hepatitis C Virus

HRVic – Harm Reduction Victoria

IDU – Intravenous Drug User

Ledipasvir – A DAA. One of the two drugs in Harvoni.

Liver Biopsy – a procedure in which a sample of liver is taken with a needle guided by ultrasound. Largely superseded by the FibroScan test.

LFT – Liver Function Test. A blood test which measures the levels of certain enzymes which point to the health of the liver. Levels of ALT are most indicative in cases of Hep C.

Merck & Co – Makers of Zepatier (Elbasvir/Grazoprevir) for HCV genotypes 1 & 4 (Also known as MSD)

MSD – Merck Sharp & Dohme – see Merck & Co

MSM – Men who have Sex with Men.

NSP – Needle & Syringe Program.

NUAA – New South Wales Users & Aids Association. A peer based harm reductions organisation equivalent to HRVic (Harm Reduction Victoria).

Ombitasvir – An NS5A inhibiting DAA. One of the four drugs in the Viekira Pak.

ORT – Opiate Replacement Therapy. Ie. methadone, suboxone

Pan-Genotypic –  Adjective used in reference to a treatment which covers all genotypes of HCV. Gilead’s Epclusa makes this claim. Sofosbuvir/Daclatasvir may also be an effective pan-genotypic treatment.

Paritaprevir – A DAA. One of the four drugs in the Viekira Pak.

PBAC – Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Board. Advises the Australian government on which drugs should be listed on the PBS.

PBS – Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

PCR – Polymerase Chain Reaction, a test which determines the presence of the virus.

Pharmacotherapy – A widely used alternative term for ORT (Opiate Replacement Therapy) i.e. Methadone/Buprenorphine programs.

PWID – People Who Inject Drugs.

PWUD – People who Use Drugs

RAS – Resistance Associated Substitution. The currently preferred descriptor for what used to be referred to as a RAV (see RAV)

RAV – Resistance Associated Variants – Hep C virus particles which have developed resistance to drugs.

Ribavirin – An older antiviral sometimes added to modern Hep C treatment regimens in cases of severe fibrosis or cirrhosis. Once commonly used in combination with pegylated interferon.

Ritonavir – One of the four drugs in the Viekira Pak.

RNA – Ribonucleic Acid – The genetic material used by Hep C.

Sofosbuvir – A DAA which suppresses HCV’s ability to replicate. (A nucleotide analog inhibitor of HCV NS5B polymerase.) Owned by Gilead Sciences and sold on its own as Sovaldi, with Ledipasvir in Harvoni, or with Velpatasvir in Epclusa.

Sovaldi – The brand name of Sofosbuvir

SVR – Sustained Viral Response, often followed by 8, 12 or 24, denoting the number of weeks a since a patient last had HCV RNA detected in their blood.

Velpatasvir –  An NS5A inhibiting DAA owned by Gilead Sciences and paired with Sofosbuvir in Epclusa.

Viekira Pak – A four drug combination therapy for Hep C Genotype 1. Owned by AbbVie

Viral Load – The amount of virus in the liver. Measured in International Units per millilitre (IU/ml)

YPHS – Young People’s Health Service. ‘The Young People’s Health Service is run by The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Adolescent Health. It is the only primary health care service that specifically works with young people who are experiencing homelessness and/or marginalisation.’

Zepatier – Brand name of a combination treatment for Genotype 1 by Merck & Co containing Elbasvir and Grazoprevir. Not currently available in Australia.

Previous post:

Next post: