Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus. This virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis C. Hepatitis C treatment included oral medications and weekly injections till recently. Many people with hepatitis C were not able to take these medications due to other health problems or severe side effects. But things are changing. Nowadays, chronic hepatitis C is curable by taking oral medications daily for 2 to 6 months.
Hepatitis C Treatment
Lot of changes have occurred in hepatitis C treatment. Recently in August of 2017, a daily combination pill of pibrentasvir & glecaprevir known as Mavyret was approved by FDA. This medication cures adult patients with all types of hepatitis C virus without cirrhosis and have not received hepatitis C treatment previously in a shorter term of just 8 weeks. But the length of the treatment varies for people in different stages of the disease. For this medication, the prescribed dosage is 3 tablets daily.
Many once a day medications are also available. Zepatier, a combination of grazoprevir and elbasvir is a once a day pill. This pill can cure hepatitis C in about 97% of those who took this pill. Daklinza, Vivekira Pak , Technivie and Epclusa are some of the other drugs for hepatitis C treatment.
Previously, interferon and ribavirin were used as main hepatitis C treatment options. But they appear to cause side effects like anemia, fatigue, mild anxiety, flu like symptoms, diarrhea, skin rash, nausea and depression. Basically, many things such as type of hepatitis C virus you have determines the type of treatment for hepatitis C. The most common type in the US is genotype 1, then comes genotypes 2 & 3. In the US, genotypes 4, 5 & 6 are very rare. Depending on your medical needs and insurance coverage, your doctor will take a call on what’s best for you.
Side Effects of Hepatitis C drugs
The type of medicine determines the side effects of hepatitis C drugs and some of the common side effects include the following:
- Hair Loss
- Low blood Count
- Flu like symptoms
- Trouble thinking
Hepatitis C Prevention
Unfortunately no hepatitis C vaccine is available. But you can take certain precautionary measures to prevent getting the hepatitis C virus:
- Do not share personal items like razors, scissors.
- Usage of condom every time you have sex.
- Don’t share syringes, needles or other equipment for injecting drugs.
- Be careful while getting a body piercing, tattoo or manicure. The device used may contain someone else’s blood stain on it.