How Do You Treat Hepatitis C?
There are existing treatments for Hepatitis C. Because the infection may be mild, treatment is not always necessary. Individuals with slight liver abnormalities may require only follow-up blood tests to monitor the liver function. In fact, approximately 10% to 25% of individuals will clear the Hepatitis C virus from their bodies with no or little treatment. (Learn more about Hepatitis C here. However, individuals with chronic infections will require differing levels of treatment.
What treatments are available for Hepatitis C?
Antiviral Medications are used to try to eliminate the virus from the body. A doctor will prescribe a combination of medications to be administered over the period of several weeks. A second round of treatment may be necessary if blood tests show the Hepatitis C virus is still present. There are side effects to antiviral medications including flu-like symptoms, depression, fatigue, headaches, and/or fever. In some cases, individuals may not tolerate antiviral medication and treatment must be delayed or stopped altogether.
In extreme cases, the liver may be too damaged by Hepatitis C for recovery without a liver transplant. Livers are donated by deceased individuals or others who donate a small portion of their liver. Liver transplants do not provide a “cure” for Hepatitis C. The infection is likely to recur in the new liver; therefore, treatment and antiviral medications must continue after an infected individual receives a new liver.
Other lifestyle changes can help stop the damage caused by Hepatitis C. These changes include abstaining from behaviors impact the overall health of infected individuals:
- Improve overall health: A healthy diet, a consistent exercise regime, and a health sleep pattern will help fight the progression of the infection.
- Avoiding medications that cause damage the liver: An infected individual should avoid all medication that could reduce liver function.
- Abstain from alcohol: Alcohol reduces liver function and speeds the progression of Hepatitis C.
- Receive vaccinations: Although there is no vaccination for Hepatitis C, infected individuals should receive vaccinations for other viruses (such as Hepatitis A & B) that can create complications.
- Investigate alternative medicine: Although studies have presented mixed results, some believe herbal remedies, primarily milk thistle, may slow the progression of Hepatitis C.
- Limit the exposure of contaminated blood: Infected individuals should limit the exposure of others to contaminated blood to stop the spread of Hepatitis C. (Learn more about Hepatitis C risk factors.) <<Link to: “How do you prevent Hepatitis C?” post. >>
With proper care and monitoring, infected individuals can slow or stop the damage caused by the Hepatitis C infection. It is critical that individuals with chronic Hepatitis C find and consult with a dedicated physician upon receiving Hepatitis C positive blood results.
JBR Clinical Research is currently seeking individuals 18 years and older who suffer from Hepatitis C for a clinical study for an investigational medication to treat Hepatitis C. Participants must not have received any previous treatment for Hepatitis C virus infection.
Qualified participants may receive related health care, investigational medication, and compensation for time and travel. Learn more about JBR Clinical Research’s Hepatitis C study here.