Hepatitis C (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Most people who are known to have an acute hepatitis C infection get treated with antiviral medicine. Treatment for acute hepatitis C may help prevent long-term (chronic) infection, although there is still some debate over when to begin treatment and how long to treat acute hepatitis C.3
Antiviral medicines also are used to treat long-term (chronic) hepatitis C. These medicines can help prevent the hepatitis C virus from damaging your liver.
Sometimes treatment doesn't permanently lower the amount of virus in your blood. But some studies have shown that treatment may still reduce scarring in your liver, which can lower your chances of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer.6, 1
Interferons combined with ribavirin are used to help your body get rid of the virus. These medicines may be combined with a protease inhibitor (such as boceprevir or telaprevir) to treat long-term (chronic) hepatitis C.
What to think about
Medicines to treat hepatitis C don't work for everyone. Chronic hepatitis C infection is cured or controlled in about half of the people who are treated with a combination of peginterferon and ribavirin.7 Treatment works for up to 45% of people with genotype 1 and up to 80% of people with genotype 2 or 3.7 Adding a protease inhibitor (such as boceprevir or telaprevir) to peginterferon/ribavirin therapy controls hepatitis C in up to 88% of people with genotype 1.8
If you have tried interferon in the past and didn't get good results, talk to a doctor who is a liver specialist (hepatologist). He or she will be able to tell you about new, experimental medicines.
The length of your treatment depends on what hepatitis C genotype you have. Genotype 1 typically is treated for 1 year. Genotypes 2 and 3 typically are treated for 6 months. If you have genotype 1 and your viral load does not show signs of improvement after 3 months of treatment, your treatment may be stopped.
It is important to weigh the benefits of medicines for hepatitis C against the drawbacks. You most likely don't need to make a quick decision about treatment, because hepatitis C progresses very slowly. Talking with your doctor can help you decide whether medicines are right for you. For more information, see:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies