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What is the Treatment for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an infectious viral disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This disease often presents without symptoms, but a long lasting infection can cause liver damage, disease and cancer. The risk of developing liver disease is estimated between 5-15% of those infected and women are at less risk than men. Hepatitis C is commonly spread via blood-to-blood contact, such as during blood transfusions or injecting drugs, and via unprotected sexual contact. It is estimated that 350,000 people die each year from complications related to the disease. About 2% of the population in the United States have the disease and there are up to 185,000 new cases each year. Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine for this disease. Let’s find out how it is treated.

How is hepatitis C treated?
HVC turns into a chronic infection in about 50-80% of cases and 40-80% of these cases clear with proper treatment. For the first 24-48 weeks after diagnosis the standard treatment is the antiviral drug ribavirin and pegylated interferon alpha. For certain strains of the disease the protease inhibitor boceprevir or the antiviral drug telaprevir are used together with the other drugs for an improved response. These treatments come with some drawbacks such as flu like symptoms and emotional distress. Treatment is most effective in the first 6 months of infection and is much less likely to succeed if the condition is already chronic. Various natural medicines are claimed to be effective, but there is no evidence that they work against the disease.

Other important information
Patients with hepatitis C are advised to reduce or completely avoid alcohol and medications that are toxic to the liver. They should also be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B if they have not already been immunized for these diseases.

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