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Hepatitis C - Treatment Overview

Treatment of relapse or nonresponse

Sometimes you can take different medicine if your first round of treatment didn't work very well. The decision to try treatment again is based on several things including how well you tolerated the first treatment and how well the first round of treatment worked. Talk to your doctor about whether you might try medicines again.

Treatment if the condition gets worse

Severe liver damage caused by chronic hepatitis C usually takes 20 or more years to develop.

If your hepatitis C continues to get worse, it can cause your liver to stop working, a condition called end-stage liver failure. In this case, a liver transplant may be the only way to extend your life. But if you are drinking alcohol, are sharing needles to inject drugs, or have severe depression or certain other mental illnesses, liver transplant may not be an option.

End-of-life issues

Most people with chronic hepatitis C will not die from the disease. But 1 to 5 out of 100 people with severe liver damage from chronic hepatitis C will die because of the virus.7 Even if a liver transplant is done as a last possible treatment, there can be complications that lead to death. For more information about decisions to help prepare for death and dying, see the topic Care at the End of Life.

What to think about

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but there are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Your doctor may recommend that you have these vaccines to help protect you from more liver problems.

Researchers are working to develop other treatments, including gene therapy and medicines that help control the immune system.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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