Hepatitis C is a liver infection and like Hepatitis B, it can damage the liver that can lead to more serious medical conditions. According to reports, Hepatitis C affects at least 3 million US citizens and it is often caused by sharing needles when using joints or during pot and cocaine sessions. There are different strains of Hepatitis C as well and among the end results of untreated Hepatitis C infection are cirrhosis, scarring of the liver and cancer. Treatment for Hepatitis C depends on the strain of Hepatitis C virus that infected you.
Three types of Hepatitis C drugs
The first type is traditional drugs. Since Hepatitis C was first discovered, the standard treatment that doctors have been using is the combination of Interferon and ribavirin.
The second type is protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors became popular in 2011 and among the examples of this kind of drugs are boceprevir, telaprevir, and simeprevir.
The third type is direct-acting antivirals which are pretty new in the Hepatitis C treatment. This type of Hepatitis C treatment is still undergoing clinical trials.
Hepatitis C Genotype
The Hepatitis C genotype is the strain of Hepatitis C virus. In order to prescribe the best type of treatment for your Hepatitis C infection, your doctor will have to check first your Hepatitis C genotype. In the US, the most common Hepatitis C genotype is genotype 1. Genotype 1 often receives a combination of a protease inhibitor, interferon, and ribavirin. For genotype 2 and 3, you can just have interferon, ribavirin and the protease inhibitor is no longer needed.
What is interferon?
Our body produces interferon on its own. Interferon is what our immune system uses to fight off viruses. If our immune system gets weak because of virus infection, then it is time to get interferon through drugs. There are two types of interferon, pegylated interferon, and peginterferon. These can be injected into the body and should be administered at least twice a week for 11 months to a year.
What is Ribavirin?
Ribavirin is an antiviral drug and it is in the form of liquid and capsule or pill. It should be taken twice a day and is a regular part of a Hepatitis C treatment. Studies show that Ribavirin stops Hepatitis C virus from multiplying.
What is Protease Inhibitors?
Protease Inhibitors stops the Hepatitis C virus from multiplying as well. The common types of Protease Inhibitors are boceprevir, telaprevir, or simeprevir. You can use any of these along with interferon and ribavirin.
All drugs that doctors are using in treating Hepatitis C infection passed through thorough clinical trials to make sure that they are safe and effective. These treatments are also recommended for children with Hepatitis C infection. Newer drugs though that are more effective are not yet recommended for children’s use due to possible efficacy issues. With the continuous researches and studies that the scientific world is doing in finding the perfect cure for Hepatitis C infection, there are more hopes of finding cheaper Sovaldi in the future.