Learning What Hepatitis C Treatment Is Best for You
There are a large variety of hepatitis C treatment options available. There is important treatment information to help you learn what to ask your doctor about which treatment is best for you.
When I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, I had many questions regarding treatment; I wanted to know what treatment was available, which treatment was right for my liver condition, how long treatment would take, and what was the cure rate.
You are the head of your healthcare team. Along with your doctor, nurses, and specialty pharmacist, and others, you can develop a plan for your treatment. This information helped my doctor and myself decide which treatment was best for me.
Ask your doctor
You may want to ask your doctor questions to learn about your liver condition and learn your genotype (virus strain of hepatitis C). Talk to your doctor about other medical conditions you may have. Talk to your doctor about all medications, including prescription and over the counter meds, supplements, and vitamins you take.
Learn about treatment
Ask your doctor what treatments are available that are best for your liver condition and genotype. Learn if you have more than one treatment option. Ask about pan-genotypic treatments (treatments for all genotypes) and if this is best for you. Ask about new generic treatments now available in the U.S. If you do not have medical insurance or cannot afford your co-pay, learn about patient assistance programs that you can apply to receive help for treatment.
Standard treatment information
Standard treatment length is 8 to 12 weeks, with some treatment lasting 24 weeks depending on the liver and medical conditions. Treatment cure rates for the majority of liver conditions are over 90 percent. Most common treatment side effects include headache and fatigue. Less common side effects include mild nausea, insomnia, and diarrhea.
Medical treatment that has been tested in clinical trial studies and FDA approved are the only treatments that proved in trial studies to cure hepatitis C. Supplements, herbs or special diets do not cure hepatitis C. Beware some supplements and herbs may be harmful to the liver and are not regulated to back up their claims. They also have not been under clinical trial studies.
Do not rely on liver enzyme information alone to determine if you have been cured of hepatitis C. Liver enzymes can fluctuate throughout hepatitis C and treatment. Specific blood tests like RNA tests are done throughout treatment and 12 weeks after treatment is completed to determine if the virus is present or non-detected.
If after 12 weeks of treatment you receive a non-detected status, you are considered cured, but may need to continue to follow up with your liver specialist.
Have you been diagnosed with cirrhosis?