Non-A hepatitis; Non-B hepatitis
The goals of HCV treatment are to remove the virus from the blood and reduce the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer that can result from long-term HCV infection.
Many patients with hepatitis C benefit from treatment with medications. The most common medications are a combination of pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin, an antiviral medication.
These medications have a number of side effects, and patients must be watched closely. Symptoms include:
See: Cirrhosis for information about treating more severe liver damage caused by hepatitis C.
Patients who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may be candidates for a liver transplant.
People with hepatitis C should also:
You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a support group of people who share common experiences and problems. See liver disease - resources.
Most people with hepatitis C infection have the chronic form.
Patients with genotypes 2 or 3 are more likely to respond to treatment than patients with genotype 1.
The chance of removing the hepatitis C virus from the blood with treatment is over 90% for some people. Even if treatment does not remove the virus, it can reduce the chance of severe liver disease.
Many doctors use the term "sustained virologic response" rather than "cure" when the virus is removed from the blood, because it is not known whether this will last a person's entire life.
Hepatitis C is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease in the United States today. People with this condition may have:
Hepatitis C usually comes back after a liver transplant, which can lead to cirrhosis of the new liver.
Call your health care provider if:
Ghany MG, Strader DB, Thomas DL, Seeff LB. American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Diagnosis, management, and treatment of hepatitis C: an update. Hepatology. 2009;49:1335-1374.
Jou JH, Muir AJ. In the clinic. Hepatitis C. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148:ITC6-1-ITC6-16.
O'Leary JG, Davis GL. Hepatitis C. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 79.
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