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The Time to Treat Your Hepatitis C Is Now and Here Is Why

The ads portray us as a bit off the beaten path, maybe artistic, not buttoned down, not straight and narrow. Advertisers miss the mark advertising to us. The issue is that we are not a category  of people. Why? Because there are many roads that lead to Hepatitis C.

However we contracted Hepatitis C, a new study by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that treatment and cure of chronic hepatitis C reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). This is especially true if treatment is given early, before cirrhosis develops, and while patients are still young. Dr. Hashem El-Serag, principal investigator, Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Baylor and the DeBakey VA, says, “The time of cure is essential for determining prognosis. High emphasis should be given to increasing screening and diagnosis of hepatitis C before those infected develop cirrhosis, through assessment of degree of liver fibrosis. “

Researchers found that successful antiviral treatment for hepatitis C is associated with a significant reduction in risk of cirrhosis, HCC and overall mortality, regardless of age. Therefore, delaying treatment is no longer recommended. Patients with hepatitis C aged 65 to 85 years who received less antiviral treatment than younger patients were more likely to develop cirrhosis and liver cancer than patients with hepatitis C aged 20 to 49 years. But don’t despair. Patients age 65-85 at the time of treatment, had less death, liver cancer, and other complications than those without treatment. So, don’t delay treatment. There are several successful treatment options to choose from. Talk to your hepatologist or a gastroenterologist. Your primary care physician may not be current with research.

The report appears this month in the journal of Hepatology.

Of Note: Two HCV Drugs to Be Discontinued:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Rebetol (ribavirin; Merck) capsules and PegIntron (peginterferon alfa-2b; Merck) for Injection are being discontinued. The decision is business-related and not due to safety or efficacy issues with the drugs. This is a reflection of current better treatments available.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.