Longer Hepatitis C Treatment Best
Cure Rates Are Higher With Longer Treatment of 6 Months
WebMD News Archive
Individualized Hepatitis C Treatment
Shiffman understands the desire of patients and doctors to shorten
treatment. The drugs used to treat hepatitis C are very expensive and they can
cause severe fatigue, fever, depression, and other hard-to-tolerate side
But he says a better strategy than shortening treatment is lowering drug
dosage in patients who have trouble tolerating hepatitis C treatments.
He adds that rapid response to treatment has become as important as viral
genotype for predicting response to treatment.
Patients who show no signs of hepatitis C infection within a month of
beginning treatment have a 90% cure rate, regardless of genotype, he says.
“We are learning that the optimal way to treat hepatitis C is to monitor the
virus during treatment, no matter what the genotype, and adjust treatment
duration based on response.”
T. Jake Liang, MD, of the National Institutes of Health, says this
individualized approach to hepatitis C treatment will become more common as
more is learned about the virus.
Liang is chief of the liver disease branch of the National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
“As our technology improves we will be more able to identify patients who
will benefit from a shorter course of treatment,” he tells WebMD. “For now,
though, genotype 2 and 3 patients who can tolerate the treatment should remain
on it for a full six months.”
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