Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.
Leann Poston, M.D.
Leann Poston, M.D. earned her medical degree from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She completed an MBA from Raj Soin College of Business, focusing on healthcare. She is a full-time medical communication writer and educator.
June 19, 2021
Hepatitis C is treated with antiviral medication. These pills attack the virus, and prevent it from spreading or multiplying.
There are a total of nine families, and a few subfamilies, of FDA-approved hepatitis C medications.
These hepatitis C medications are:
The medication taken is dependent on the genotype of HCV that is contracted. With a fair amount of medication options today, the patient can get a more specific treatment that will help them recover better.
Hepatitis C comes from a virus that is transferred through blood. It affects the function of the liver, and can cause more chronic conditions if left untreated.
In many patients, hepatitis C only lasts a few weeks to a couple of months. Interestingly however, over half of hepatitis C patients develop chronic hepatitis C due to the virus’s ability to transform itself and subvert immune system defenses. This also allows for reinfection, where those who have been cured of the hepatitis C virus and contract it again immediately afterward.
Hepatitis C has over 67 subtypes, which makes vaccination impossible. Although the 67 subtypes exhibit similar symptoms and are treated the same way, a vaccine cannot be created to prevent all of them. 67 distinct vaccines would have to be taken in order to accomplish this. It’s good, then, that hepatitis C is, for the most part, an ultimately benign and curable disease.
While the vast number of subtypes makes vaccination impossible, hepatitis C can be cured with a combination of antivirals and time. In 2014, multiple hepatitis C antiviral treatments became available. Antivirals slow down the replication of a given virus, allowing them to infect fewer body cells as your immune system continues its fight against the virus.
Taking antivirals helps reduce the amount of time it takes your immune system to fight off the virus. This means less damage to your liver, a smaller chance of a chronic case of hepatitis forming, and a lower likelihood that a more severe condition will develop.
Be sure to reduce your intake of anything that might give your liver more problems when being treated for hepatitis C. This includes alcohol, which can damage your liver further if consumed in excess, and certain medications, which require your liver to work overtime in order to filter it out.
It’s true that, for the most part, your body is able to fight off a hepatitis C infection on its own. Many hepatitis C patients who can’t afford a doctor’s visit or who simply don’t want to see a doctor opt for this method – but it can lead to problems. The longer your body goes without assistance in fighting hepatitis C, the higher your chance of developing a more serious condition or permanent liver damage. It is highly recommended that anyone who suspects they may have hepatitis C visit a doctor as soon as possible and follow the prescribed treatment to the letter.
Typically, treatment takes eight to twelve weeks. It can be as long as 16 weeks, or even 24, depending on the situation, although that is uncommon. The specific duration depends on what medication you are taking.
Usually, within two weeks, there will be a significant drop in the viral load. This means that the amount of the virus that is detectable in your blood will be much lower. This does not happen for everyone, it can take longer for some patients.
The exact amount that hepatitis C medication would cost someone varies from person to person as there are a few dependent factors. The medication price depends on different factors like insurance. With payment help such as insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., medication could cost as little as a couple dollars for a month’s supply. It is important to speak with your healthcare professional and your insurance company to find the best hepatitis C medication for your treatment and your budget.
Many of the treatments are accompanied by side effects that can affect the infected person’s quality of life. Some side effects are:
Most of these side effects are manageable. It is important to make sure you are ingesting lots of fluid and resting as much as possible during treatment. Some more severe side effects may result in reducing the treatment or the stopping of treatment altogether.
Online doctors are often a more cost-effective method for getting the care you need than an in-person doctor.
Our affiliated site PlushCare is an excellent option. PlushCare was recently named one of the top startups of 2021 by Forbes, and offers top-tier telehealth services.
Doctors at PlushCare are well versed in hepatitis C medication, and can make a treatment plan for you, and even prescribe the medication you need, all online.
Click here to make an appointment with a PlushCare doctor.
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