Treating a child’s Hepatitis C infection effectively depends on the way the infection was diagnosed. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diagnosis is the most important part of treatment because Hepatitis C has 6 genotypes and each genotype represent a different characteristic and requires a different treatment. Each genotype is so unique that they don’t respond in the same way to the same treatment. In addition to diagnosing the genotype infecting your kid, doctors must be aware as well of the form of Hepatitis C infection that your kid has, is it chronic or acute Hepatitis C infection?
The two forms of Hepatitis C infection
Children who just got exposed to Hepatitis C infection will develop acute Hepatitis C infection. This infection often clears on its own with the help of our immune system. When it doesn’t, then it becomes chronic Hepatitis C infection and this will now require medication in order to clear the infection. In studies, children who developed acute Hepatitis C infection often ends up having chronic Hepatitis C infection. So far, it is very rare for children with chronic Hepatitis C infection to need liver transplant because of their infection. Hepatitis C infection is a slow moving infection hence it takes 20 to 30 years before it can fully damage one’s liver, resulting to more adults needing liver transplant than children. Children who have untreated chronic Hepatitis C infection also develop cirrhosis and liver scarring in their adult life.
Treating a child with Hepatitis C infection
A child’s treatment and medication depends on the genotype of Hepatitis C that infected them. Just like with adult treatment, they are prescribed with antiviral drugs. Treatment for Hepatitis C infection can last from 3 months up to 12 months or until the child is free of Hepatitis C virus based on the result of viral load test.
Children with Hepatitis C infection are treated with interferon and ribavirin. These are the same drugs being used by adults with Hepatitis C infection. There are now newer drugs available in the market such as Sovaldi, the miracle drug for Hepatitis C infection that costs a lot but this is not recommended for children yet according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A clinical trial involving children and Sovaldi is still being planned.
For children in the US suffering from Hepatitis C infection, there is a program called Viral Hepatitis Clinical Care Program that aims to help children get better from their infection. They provide treatment and medication but some of the drugs being used are for experimental purposes. This program initiates clinical trials of treatment that can be used by children in clearing their Hepatitis C infection. The good thing is they are only using drugs that have been checked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hence you don’t have to worry about your kids’ total health when enrolled in this program. For more information about Viral Hepatitis Clinical Care Program, call their hotline 1-866-KID-LIVR (1-866-543-5487).