Hepatitis C: Care and Treatment
Care and treatment
The choice of the most suitable treatment is made after evaluating the results of the diagnostic tests. If these indicate a low level of abnormalities, while continuing to monitor the evolution of hepatitis, the doctor may decide not to intervene, because the risk of developing severe liver damage is low; on the other hand, because of the side effects of the specific anti-hepatitis C treatment, undertaking the therapy could cause more harm than good. At the limit, the doctor may refer the patient to vaccination for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, since the simultaneous association of these diseases considerably increases the rate of hepatic degeneration.
Effectiveness of the New Treatments
Hepatitis C therapy has made significant progress in recent years, so much so that the success of aggressive treatment is around 80% for people with certain genotypes and 50-60% of all treated individuals. At the beginning of 2014 a new drug was introduced, Sofosbuvir (eg Sovaldi ®) even more effective, because it is capable of guaranteeing healing in over 90% of patients affected by genotypes 1, 4, 5 or 6 of the hepatitis virus. C. Treatment with Sofosbuvir is also based on the combination with ribavirin and possibly with peginterferon.
Traditional treatment consists of weekly subcutaneous injections of a drug called pegylated interferon alfa (peginterferon), in combination with a double daily oral intake of a second drug, called ribavirin. The duration and treatment schedule may vary in relation to the genotype of the virus involved in the infection; on average it ranges from 24 weeks at high dosage (more suitable for genotype 1), to 48 weeks at lower doses (more suitable for genotype 2 and 3).
If the cure does not have the desired effects, you can proceed with a second cycle, in order to weaken the virus or eradicate it completely.
For further information: Drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C
Side Effects of Treatment
Side effects associated with interferon / ribivarin therapy include:
- severe flu-like symptoms, irritability, depression, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, skin irritation, fatigue and insomnia (attributable to "interferon)
- anemia, itching, nasal congestion, dermatitis, fatigue and changes or alterations in the normal development of the fetus (attributable to ribivarin)
- suicidal behaviors and thoughts were recorded in a small percentage of people (attributable to the simultaneous intake of the two drugs).
Although the side effects can be mitigated by the concomitant use of pain relievers and antidepressants, they are sometimes so severe that they require discontinuation of treatment or a reduction in the dose of interferon.
For the same reason, hepatitis C therapy, as described above, is contraindicated or performed at lower doses and / or for short periods, in people suffering from depression, anemia, autoimmune diseases, alcoholics and pregnant women.
If hepatitis C is diagnosed at an advanced stage, when the liver presents important and irreversible lesions that seriously compromise its functionality, the best treatment is represented by organ transplantation.
Diet, supplements and lifestyle
After diagnosing hepatitis C and planning an adequate treatment, the doctor will recommend the adoption of a healthy diet, aimed above all at the definitive elimination of alcoholic beverages (ethanol accelerates the development of the disease); less frying, less chocolate and coffee , less fast food, smaller meals, but richer in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
On the other hand, in the presence of hepatitis C, it is essential to avoid the use of hepatologic drugs, such as paracetamol. Some supplements, such as artichoke extracts, milk thistle and silymarin, provide an important help, thanks to their ability to purify the liver of toxins and improve its functionality. Their use in the presence of hepatitis C must in any case take place under medical supervision, since, a bit like all phytotherapeutic products, they are contraindicated in the presence of certain diseases and could interact with some medications prescribed to the patient.
Related topics: hepatitis A; hepatitis B; hepatitis D; hepatitis E; Medicines for the treatment of hepatitis
Other articles on "Hepatitis C: Care and Treatment"
- Hepatitis C: risk factors, diagnosis and prevention
- Hepatitis C
- Medicines for the Treatment of Hepatitis C
- Diet for Hepatitis C