Important Factors Before Hepatitis C Treatment
Last updated: June 2020
To determine which hepatitis C treatment is best suited for each patient depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the patient’s genotype, liver condition, and medical history. Testing for other existing conditions and autoimmune disorders are also important before beginning hepatitis C treatment.
Not all hepatitis C treatments are right for everyone and all liver conditions. Hepatitis C treatment is specifically made to work for each genotype (virus strain) - although more and more are now being approved for all genotypes
There are 6 genotypes with subtypes related to the hepatitis C virus. There are some hepatitis C treatments that are pan-genotypic, meaning they work on all genotypes, but the patient’s liver and medical condition still need to be considered before selecting treatment.
Each patient’s medical history and liver condition are also unique. Testing is needed to make sure the right treatment is selected to work effectively for each patient. Length of treatment may also depend on the patient’s liver condition, considering the amount of liver damage present.
Other medical conditions
Testing for other existing medical conditions is an important consideration prior to treatment. If the patient has an autoimmune disorder, co-infection, or other medical condition that requires special medication, these need to be taken into consideration in relation to choosing which hepatitis C treatment will work.
Prior to starting my hepatitis C treatment, my hepatologist ran tests to rule out any autoimmune disorder and determined what amount of liver damage I had. It was discovered I did have two chronic autoimmune disorders, one in which would be affected by treatment. I have Hashimoto’s disease, a condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid. My thyroid condition had a high risk of being affected by hepatitis C I was going to take. I also had to start thyroid medication and get my thyroid regulated prior to treatment starting. I also have Vitiligo, an autoimmune skin disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches or patches. Vitiligo happens when cells that produce the melanin for your skin die or stop functioning.
My doctor also wanted to determine if liver damage was present and how much. I had a liver biopsy, which looks at the structural condition of the liver. My biopsy showed liver damage was present. With taking all these factors into consideration, the best hepatitis C treatment option was determined for me.
Talk to your physician about your medical history, testing, and which treatment is best suited for your liver condition.