Chronic Hep C is a serious disease, but it can be cured. Due to recent scientific advances, today’s treatments are more effective, with cure rates of around 95%. And today’s treatments don’t have the harsh side effects of previous medicines.
In 2007, Hep C patients died at a median age of 57. This is 20 years shorter than the average US lifespan.
A recent study projects that about 45% of untreated patients would develop cirrhosis by 2030. Cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.
Hep C is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.
It’s estimated that in the past few years, more people have been treated and cured of Hep C than in the previous decade. Cure means the Hep C virus is not detected in the blood 3 months after treatment is completed.
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Newer medicines called direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have greatly improved cure rates for Hep C. These are injection-free oral medicines that work directly against the virus to keep it from multiplying inside the body. Most DAAs are taken in combination with each other or other medicines.
Your Hep C Specialist will need to identify the specific type of Hep C you have, called your genotype, in order to know which one of these treatments may be an option for you. If you have Hep C, it can be cured.
Talk to your Hep C Specialist about a treatment option that may be right for you.
Scientific advances have made Hep C treatment shorter and more effective. These are some of the important treatment advances through the years:
Interferon (IFN) was introduced to help boost the body’s natural defense system (immune system) to fight infection. In more recent years, pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) was developed to be taken as a once-weekly injection under the skin in combination with other medicines.
Ribavirin (RBV) also became part of a standard Hep C treatment regimen. Ribavirin is used to fight certain viruses, though it does not work against Hep C by itself. It is taken twice a day, orally, along with other medicines to treat Hep C.
Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have greatly improved cure rates and don’t have the harsh side effects of previous medicines. These medicines are taken orally—no injections are needed.
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