Drug Therapy And Hepatitis C
Starting Drug Therapy
It is nowhere necessary that you start drug therapy immediately. However, there are cases where patients need to be treated urgently, such as if they have developed cirrhosis. Those with a mild liver disease do not need to undergo urgent treatment, but this should be discussed with ones GP. Other situations where treatment should be considered urgently include when the disease has affected the kidneys or other organs apart from the liver.
Benefits Of Treatment
If it is decided you will be taking medicines to treat the disease, then the aim of this is to:
- Stop or slow the damage to your liver
- Clear or remove the entire virus from your body permanently
- Reduce the risk of developing cirrhosis
- Reduce the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
- Reduce the risk of decompensating if one already has cirrhosis
Who Should Consider Treatment
Patients with hepatitis C in their blood with a chronic hepatitis C infection are usually considered to undergo therapy. Your GP will usually suggest treatment if:
- You have major damage to the liver (plus cirrhosis)
- If you are motivated to have treatment
- If you can take your medicine exactly as it is prescribed
- If you happily comply with visits, blood tests, and the necessary steps
- If you were recently infected with the disease
- If you are co-infected with hepatitis B or HIV
- If the disease has infected other organs or the kidney
If you wish to begin treatment, it is recommending speaking with your doctor. You can also discuss any concerns you have prior to beginning the treatment. You and your doctor can also decide the treatment that is right for you and those medicines that will work.
The current regimens for hepatitis C include:
- Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin
- Sofosbuvir and Ribavirin
- Sofosbuvir and Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin
- Simeprevir and Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin
- Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin and either Telaprevir or Boceprevir
- Sofosbuvir and Simeprevir – with or without Ribavirin
Duration Of Treatment
The duration of the treatment seems to be changing. The majority of the regimens with Sofosbuvir usually last twelve weeks; however, there are exceptions. The duration of treatment with Simeprevir, Ribavirin, and Interferon is from 24 to 48 weeks. Regimens for the future may be less than twelve weeks.
Working Whilst On Treatment
Whilst on treatment, some patients choose to keep a work schedule that’s normal. However, others may need to cut down their work hours or stop working altogether. Every patient experiences different side effect so different amounts of treatment will affect one's work schedule in a different way.
Successfulness Of Treatment
The response an individual has to treatment depends on a range of factors, such as:
- Amount of virus in the blood
- How much of the liver is damaged
- If you have an HIV infection
- If you were treated in the past with unsuccessful response
Generally, patients being treated for the first time usually have a sixty to eighty percent chance of being cured.