Hepatitis C Treatments
Hepatitis is an infection that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. As a result of the liver being inflamed, waste products build up in blood and tissues. There are five hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E. In this article, we’ll explore Hepatitis C, which is a serious liver infection, caused specifically by the Hepatitis C virus, that’s spread through contact with blood. Although there is no actual cure for Hepatitis C, new drugs are making big improvements in the way of treatments. Doctors now say that the goal of a Hepatitis C cure is in reach. This is because of a few promising treatments that have been shown to help symptoms subside. The goal of all treatments is to reduce the amount of the hepatitis C virus in the blood to levels that can’t be detected after 24 weeks of therapy. Keep reading to learn about three available treatment options for Hepatitis C.
The first step is taking the best hepatitis C medications, which now include a combination of antiviral medications. Doctors can prescribe a full course of the medicines, and then recheck the level of hepatitis C in the blood after treatment is completed. If there is still a significant amount of the virus in the system, a doctor might recommend another course of medicine. The goal of these medications is to eliminate the Hepatitis C virus as much as possible. After taking medicines for six months to one year, many people (45% to 75%) do not experience any more problems from Hepatitis C and are considered “cured.” However, many Hepatitis C medications can cause side effects including nausea, vomiting and fever. As a result, Hepatitis C sufferers may be tempted to stop taking their medicine before treatment ends. However, it’s best to continue medications and fight through the side effects because if Hepatitis C is left completely untreated, it can become chronic and leave patients much sicker in the long run.
Avoid alcohol is also important for hepatitis C treatment. Doctors advise that all Hepatitis C treatments have better chances of working if a person can cut back on alcohol or, even better, stop drinking alcohol altogether. Alcohol actually makes it harder for Hepatitis C medications to clear the virus. In multiple studies, heavy alcohol use among people with Hepatitis C has been shown to be associated with fibrosis progression and cirrhosis. Even light and moderate alcohol consumption have been shown to contribute to liver disease. Both past and current alcohol use also have been associated with a decrease in patients’ responses to medications. As a result, it’s best for Hepatitis C patients to avoid alcohol if they want to get closer to a cure.
Another option is a liver transplant. When patients have advanced hepatitis C, liver transplants are likely the most promising treatment option. Liver transplants are typically only offered to patients who can’t be treated using drugs or other therapies because their Hepatitis C is past that point. The most common reason for needing a liver transplant is severe cirrhosis, also known as scarring of the liver. Plus, before getting a liver transplant, a patient must be added to a list to receive a donated liver. And, although a liver transplant is a complicated, risky surgery, it can truly save a person’s life. On average, 75% of adult patients survive the operation and resume normal lives. Plus, new advances in liver transplant surgery, including the use of combination anti-viral therapy and “live donor” liver transplants, are making the odds even greater every day.