Doctor's Notes on Hepatitis C Medications
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver that may be caused by viral infections, alcohol, medications, chemicals, poisons, etc. Hepatitis C is inflammation of the liver caused by infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV). With newer medications hepatitis C can be treated with oral combinations of medicines for several weeks. These newer medications cure the virus from the blood in over 90% of cases. Drugs used to treat HCV are called direct-acting agents (DAAs) and they are most often used in combinations. Examples include protease inhibitors, nucleotide polymerase inhibitors, and NS5A inhibitors.
Hepatitis C may cause no symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do occur they may include
- loss of appetite,
- muscular aches, and f
What Is the Treatment for Hepatitis C?
Treatment for hepatitis C consists of prevention of further damage to the liver and antiviral treatment regimens designed to get rid of the virus.
If you have hepatitis C, in addition to talking to your liver specialist doctor about treatments, you should:
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B
- Stop taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications or supplements that affect the liver such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) unless approved by your doctor
Current treatments for hepatitis C usually involve 8 to 12 weeks of oral therapy (pills) with a cure rate over 90% with few side effects. Currently approved FDA treatments for hepatitis C include:
- Elbasvir-grazoprevir (Zepatier)
- Glecaprevir-pibrentasvir (Mavyret)
- Ledipasvir-sofosbuvir (Harvoni)
- Peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys)
- Peginterferon alfa-2b (PegIntron)
- Ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere)
- Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi)
- Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir (Epclusa)
- Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir-voxilaprevir (Vosevi)
Hepatitis C : What is Hepatitis C? QuizQuestion
Hepatitis C virus causes an infection of the ______________.See Answer
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Liver Blood TestsLiver blood tests are used to check the levels and function of liver enzymes in the blood called AST and ALT or aminotransferases in the blood. Symptoms of elevated or high liver enzymes in the blood include fever, abdominal pain, poor appetite, itching, and nausea. Normal levels of liver enzymes in blood are caused by liver diseases caused by drugs, for example, acetaminophen (Tylenol), pain medications, and statins. Less common causes of abnormal levels of ALT or AST levels in the blood are alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver diseases (NASH), hepatitis, and alcoholism. Normal levels of ALT ranges from about 7-56 units/liter, and 10-40 units/liters for AST. Elevated (high) and low liver enzymes elevated levels of AST and ALT may signify the level of liver damage the person has. A blood sample is sent to the laboratory for measurement. Usually, you doctor will have the results interpreted within a few hours to days. Liver blood tests are used to check normal, elevated (high), and low blood levels of liver enzymes (AST and ALT or aminotransferases). Symptoms of elevated levels of liver enzymes are fever, abdominal pain, poor appetite, and nausea. Drugs, for example, acetaminophen (Tylenol), pain drugs, and statins caused high levels of liver enzymes. Less common causes are NASH, hepatitis, and alcoholism.
Liver CancerLiver cancer is hard to diagnose as symptoms and signs are vague and nonspecific. Symptoms and signs may include weakness, fatigue, weight loss, or appetite loss. Treatment may incorporate surgery, liver transplantation, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
Liver DiseaseThe liver is the largest solid organ in the body, and is actually an gland. The liver has a wide variety of critical functions such as manufacturing proteins and metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. The liver also eliminates harmful biochemical waste products from the body (alcohol, drugs, toxins).The liver secretes bile that aids in digestion. Examples of diseases of the liver include; cirrhosis, hepatitis, cancer, and fatty liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver). Symptoms of liver disease include bleeding, easy bruising, edema, fatigue, and jaundice.
Liver TransplantLiver disease is a serious problem; the liver is one of the most-frequently transplanted organ in the United States.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.