Hepatitis Help and Info

There are many ways to help treat hep c, so we will help guide you.

When looking into your options, it's important to keep these items in mind: 1) prescriptions drugs vs natural remedies 2) costs of either treatment 3) how hard is it to change your lifestyle 4) your willingness to change

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Hep C Treatments

Antiviral Medications

Hepatitis C infection is treated with antiviral medications intended to clear the virus from your body. The goal of treatment is to have no hepatitis C virus detected in your body at least 12 weeks after you complete treatment.

Researchers have recently made significant advances in treatment for hepatitis C using new, “direct-acting” antiviral medications, sometimes in combination with existing ones. As a result, people experience better outcomes, fewer side effects and shorter treatment times — some as short as eight weeks. The choice of medications and length of treatment depend on the hepatitis C genotype, presence of existing liver damage, other medical conditions and prior treatments.

Due to the pace of research, recommendations for medications and treatment regimens are changing rapidly. It is therefore best to discuss your treatment options with a specialist.

Throughout treatment your care team will monitor your response to medications.

Liver Transplantation

If you have developed serious complications from chronic hepatitis C infection, liver transplantation may be an option. During liver transplantation, the surgeon removes your damaged liver and replaces it with a healthy liver. Most transplanted livers come from deceased donors, though a small number come from living donors who donate a portion of their livers.

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In most cases, a liver transplant alone doesn't cure hepatitis C. The infection is likely to return, requiring treatment with antiviral medication to prevent damage to the transplanted liver. Several studies have demonstrated that new, direct-acting antiviral medication regimens are effective at curing post-transplant hepatitis C. At the same time, treatment with direct-acting antivirals can be achieved in appropriately selected patients before liver transplantation.

List of Hepatitis C Medications:

  • Ribavirin
  • Direct-acting antivirals
  • Combination drugs
  • Harvoni
  • Zepatier
  • Epclusa
  • Vosevi
  • Mavyret
  • Interferons
  • Discontinued medications

Daclatasvir (Daklinza): Approval of this drug meant no more shots for the 1 in 10 people infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) types 1 and 3. You take this pill once a day with sofosbuvir (Sovaldi). You might get a headache or feel a little tired. Tell your doctor if you feel super-sluggish. The FDA warns it can sometimes seriously slow your heart rate, which may require you to get a pacemaker.

Elbasvir and grazoprevir (Zepatier): This once-a-day pill treats HCV types 1 and 4. It may also offer new hope for people with hep C who also have cirrhosis, HIV, late-stage kidney disease, and other hard-to-treat conditions. Like the other antivirals, the side effects are mild. You might have a slight headache or bellyache, or you might feel tired.

Glecaprevir and pibrentasvir (Mavyret): Three pills daily can treat all types of hep C. Side effects are mild and can include headache, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea.

Ledipasvir and sofosbuvir (Harvoni): This once-a-day pill launched a revolution in hep C treatment. It was the first interferon-free med for people with type 1. A year later, the FDA also gave the thumbs up for people with HCV types 4, 5, and 6 to use itSide effects are mild. You might feel tired or have a slight headache. Some people have a bellyache, diarrhea, and trouble sleeping.

Ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir, with dasabuvir (Viekira Pak):Doctors say this treatment works well for people with HCV type 1. You can even take it if you have some liver scarring, as long as your liver still can do its job. Your doctor might call this compensated cirrhosis. You take two pills once a day and another pill twice a day.

Simeprevir (Olysio)and sofosbuvir (Sovaldi):The FDA said these two drugs could be given together to treat people with HCV type 1. Before that, you had to take the pills with interferon or ribavirin. Sofosbuvir can cause fatigue, headache, and tummy troubles and make it hard for you to sleep. Simeprevir may cause dry skin and a rash and make you more sensitive to sunlight.

Sofosbuvir, velpatasvir, and voxilaprevir (Vosevi):This can also treat all types of hep C with one tablet that you take each day. Typically, your doctor will only prescribe this if you don't have cirrhosis and after other treatments have not worked. The most common side effects are headache, tiredness, diarrhea, and nausea.

Vaccinations

Although there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, your doctor will likely recommend that you receive vaccines against the hepatitis A and B viruses. These are separate viruses that also can cause liver damage and complicate the course of chronic hepatitis C.

Diagnosis

Screening for hepatitis C

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all adults ages 18 to 79 years be screened for hepatitis C, even those without symptoms or known liver disease. Screening for HCV is especially important if you're at high risk of exposure, including:

  • Anyone who has ever injected or inhaled illicit drugs
  • Anyone who has abnormal liver function test results with no identified cause
  • Babies born to mothers with hepatitis C
  • Health care and emergency workers who have been exposed to blood or accidental needle sticks
  • People with hemophilia who were treated with clotting factors before 1987
  • People who have undergone long-term hemodialysis treatments
  • People who received blood transfusions or organ transplants before 1992
  • Sexual partners of anyone diagnosed with hepatitis C infection
  • People with HIV infection
  • Anyone born from 1945 to 1965
  • Anyone who has been in prison

Other blood tests

If an initial blood test shows that you have hepatitis C, additional blood tests will:

  • Measure the quantity of the hepatitis C virus in your blood (viral load)
  • Identify the genotype of the virus

(sources: mayoclinic, webmd, healthline)