Skip to content

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size

Hepatitis C - Treatment Overview

You may or may not receive treatment for hepatitis C, depending on:

  • How damaged your liver is.
  • Other health conditions you have.
  • How much hepatitis C virus you have in your body.
  • What type (genotype) of hepatitis C you have.

The medicines used to treat hepatitis C can cause serious side effects, are expensive, and don't work for everyone.

Being diagnosed with hepatitis C can change your life. You may need help and support to cope with the illness. For more information, see Home Treatment.

Treatment of short-term (acute) hepatitis C

Most people who have acute hepatitis C don't get treated, because they don't know that they have the virus.

If a person knows that he or she may have been exposed to the virus—such as a health care worker who is stuck by a needle—acute hepatitis C can be found early. Most people who are known to have an acute hepatitis C infection get treated with medicine. In these cases, treatment may help prevent long-term (chronic) infection, although there is still some debate over when to begin treatment and how long to treat acute hepatitis C.6

Treatment of long-term (chronic) hepatitis C

It is common for people to live with hepatitis C for years without knowing they have it, because they do not have symptoms. So most people diagnosed with hepatitis C find out that they already have long-term, chronic infection.

Treatment with a combination of antiviral medicines can fight the viral infection and prevent serious liver problems like cirrhosis or liver cancer. They are used for 12 weeks to a year and help your body get rid of the virus.

Whether or not you take medicines to treat hepatitis C, you will need to have routine blood tests to help your doctor know how well your liver is working.

Some people who at first decide not to have treatment later decide they want to have it.

Your doctor can help you decide whether medicines are right for you.

Hepatitis C: Should I Take Antiviral Medicine?
    1|2|3
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Hepatitus C virus
    Types, symptoms and treatments.
    liver illustration
    Myths and facts about this essential organ.
     
    woman eating apple
    What you need to know.
    doctor and patient
    What causes it?
     
    Hepatitis C Treatment
    Article
    Syringes and graph illustration
    Tool
     
    liver illustration
    Quiz
    passport, pills and vaccine
    Slideshow
     
    Scientist looking in microscope
    Slideshow
    Fatty Liver Disease
    Article
     
    Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
    Article
    Picture Of The Liver
    Image Collection