Hepatitis C treatment involves the use of antiviral medications to eliminate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) from the body and prevent further liver damage. The goal of treatment is to achieve sustained virologic response (SVR), which means that the virus is no longer detectable in the blood six months after completing treatment.
Hepatitis C treatment in North Carolina is typically recommended in the following situations:
It's important to note that treatment decisions are individualized, and not everyone with chronic hepatitis C infection may require immediate treatment. Healthcare providers typically decide to initiate treatment based on a thorough assessment of the patient's medical history, liver function, HCV genotype, and other relevant factors.
The treatment of hepatitis C is a multidisciplinary effort that requires the expertise of various healthcare professionals. The first step in the treatment process is to identify the virus's strain and determine its resistance level to available medications. This information is used to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual patient.
The goal of hepatitis C treatment is to cure the infection and prevent any long-term damage to the liver. Several different medications can be used for this purpose, and the treatment plan will likely include more than one medication. The most common approach is to use a combination of antiviral drugs called "direct-acting antivirals" or DAAs. These drugs attack the virus directly and can cure more than 90% of patients who take them.
Once you have begun treatment, you are closely monitored with office visits, periodic lab testing, and treatment adjustments according to your response to therapy. Treatment time can run from 2-12 months in duration. For most patients, success rates are greater than 90%, and treatment is fairly well tolerated. The Hepatitis C treatment clinic is structured to support you and to ensure you complete treatment and are cured of your Hepatitis C. You will need testing 12 weeks after you have completed treatment to determine if you have been cured and no longer have Hepatitis C.
During initial visits to the Hepatitis C clinic, you will learn about the Hepatitis C virus, routes of transmission, the most current treatments for Hepatitis C, and potential treatment options customized to your specific situation. Most patients with Hepatitis C are asymptomatic and have had the disease for up to 20 years before diagnosis.
We perform an in-depth screening interview to determine your suitability for treatment by reviewing your overall medical condition, the medications you are currently taking (please bring a comprehensive list of all medications prescribed, OTC, and supplements to your visit), the condition of your liver, and your lifestyle to determine if or when treatment will be offered.
Lastly, we will undertake a pre-treatment work-up which may include x-rays, lab work, liver biopsy, eye exam, vaccinations against other types of Viral Hepatitis, and a depression & fatigue evaluation. It may take up to 6-8 weeks for treatment to be approved once you are felt to be an appropriate candidate for therapy.
To learn more about Hepatitis C, check out our comprehensive Hepatitis C condition page.