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Chronic Hepatitis C: The Basics

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How Is it Treated?

Treatment is different for every person. You may not need or get help from medications. Some people can’t handle their side effects.

The FDA has approved:

  • Boceprevir (Victrelis)
  • Interferon alfa-2b (Intron A)
  • Ombitasvir, paritaprevir, dasabuvir, ritonavir (Viekira Pak)
  • Peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys, Pegasys Proclick)
  • Peginterferon alfa-2b (PEG-Intron, PEGIntron, Peg Intron RP, Sylatron)
  • Ribavirin (Copegus, Moderiba ,Rebetol, RibaPak, RibaTab, Ribasphere Ribasphere Ribapak, Ribavirin)
  • Simeprevir (Olysio)
  • Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi)
  • Sofosbuvir, ledipasvir (Harvoni)
  • Telaprevir (Incivek)

Hepatitis C treatments are changing quickly. Until recently, the most common method was a blend of shots and pills. It most often combined a shot of interferon or peginterferon with the pills ribavirin and one of several other drugs. This caused some unpleasant side effects.

Newer drugs, including simeprevir (Olysio), sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), cure more people in less time with fewer side effects. The drugs are taken together with interferon and ribavirin. Doctors hope that soon more people will be able to stop taking interferon, the treatment that causes so many problems. The newest drug, a combination of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir (Harvoni) offers a quick cure, but is very expensive.

What’s Your Outlook?

In the best case, the hepatitis C virus won't show up in a blood test 6 months after treatment ends. Although the virus isn't gone, it stops growing. After treatment, make sure you stick with healthy habits and see your doctor regularly.

The outlook for most people with chronic hepatitis C is good. People who get cirrhosis and liver disease may need a liver transplant.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on April 10, 2015
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