Hepatitis C Treatment Options

Once a person has had the diagnosis confirmed that they are infected with Hepatitis C there are treatment options that must be considered. At one time it was believed that if the infection was still in its acute stage, meaning the person had been infected for less then six months, no treatment should be used. Physicians hoped that if left alone it would go away. So they did nothing. Research has changed this analysis.  Now they work vigorously through all stages of Hepatitis C to do the best they can to treat the infection. But the kind of treatment they offer depends a lot on what age the patient is more than just the stage of infection that they are in.

A child will be given a treatment of interferon with no accompanying medication. If they are still in the acute stage the success rate is seventy percent.  Though researchers are still trying to understand why this treatment works so well in children parents are grateful for the high success rate. There is more confusion in treating children than in adults.  Studies are continuing to better understand why a higher portion of children can clear the infection out of there systems without treatment than adults can.

Seniors are another treatment issue. When someone over sixty becomes infected physicians do not suggest using any treatment.  This is because the progress of Hepatitis C to serious liver damage, cirrhosis of the liver, can take anywhere from twenty to forty years. Therefore it is felt that a person of that age will more likely die of natural causes in their old age than anything connected with the Hepatitis C virus.  There will be some common sense lifestyle changes but beyond that more regular check-ups are about all that needs to be done.

Anyone who does not fall into those age restrictions has more treatment options. Interferon is the medication used most often to treat the Hepatitis C virus.  Use of this medication alone has a cure rate of twenty five percent. That means the infection comes under control.  Unfortunately sometimes patients have a relapse and if so this calls for a drug therapy that combines interferon with ribavirin.  This double hitting drug therapy has some good results with forty five percent of patients using this combination showing diminished levels of the virus. Neither of these should be used if a woman is pregnant as it can cause defects or death of the fetus. Don't let the side effects prevent you from taking the treatment.

Anyone who is being treated for Hepatitis C should do a few things to help their health.  One of the most important is to stop drinking. Alcohol will only speed along the damage to a person's liver. Do not use any new over the counter medications or try any natural or herbal remedies without first talking to your health care provider. Ask about getting vaccinated for both Hepatitis A nd B, especially if there are already some signs of liver damage.

Hepatitis news on the Web


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