What Hepatitis C Treatment Can and Cannot Do
Last updated: June 2023
Being proactive with your hepatitis C means learning the facts about what hepatitis C treatment can and cannot do. Assuming things can be dangerous to your health. Talk to your doctor about your liver condition and what treatment is best for your liver.
Facts about hep C treatment
Hepatitis C treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAA) targets the virus-cell and disables it from replicating, destroying the cell. After enough time in treatment, the virus is eliminated from the body, making it non-detected in blood work. Since the hepatitis C virus replicates quickly, if the virus has not been eliminated (without treatment), it will become detected in the body with blood tests and continue to cause liver inflammation and damage.
Are you interested in starting hep C treatment?
The liver can regenerate healthy liver tissue from a certain amount of liver damage, but it cannot regenerate from cirrhosis (severe scarring).
Hepatitis C treatment is designed to eliminate the hepatitis C virus from the body; It does not cure cirrhosis or other liver conditions (but it can help reduce the effects of other conditions, such as extrahepatic manifestations).
If you have been diagnosed with cirrhosis or other liver complications and taking medications to help with that condition, do not stop or alert your medication even if you are cured of hepatitis C with treatment. Talk to your doctor about all medications you take and do not stop or alter in anyway unless your doctor advises.
Importance of completing treatment
Blood work is done normally throughout the course of treatment for hepatitis C.
Your doctor may do an RNA test while you are in treatment to see what quantity (number) of hepatitis C virus cells are present. Even, if you receive a non-detected result, it is important to complete the course of your treatment as your doctor prescribes. Do not alter or stop your treatment unless your doctor advises. Treatment is designed specifically to be completed in the amount of time prescribed to eliminate the virus completely from your liver (usually 8-12 weeks).
Treatment and recovery
Once you have completed treatment, the recovery phase begins. Your liver needs time to regenerate healthy tissue. Your body also needs time to rebuild a strong immune system and restore your energy. This does not happen overnight.
Keep all your appointments with your doctor and lab work. Continue to practice good healthy steps that will help your body rebuild. Remember, your body has been under a hard fight and needs time to rebuild.
Most patients begin to feel better within 3 to 6 months after treatment. Some patients (depending on their liver condition, other medical conditions, and medications) can take up to a year to fully recovery from treatment. Be patient in the process, you will get there!