What Are My Options for Treatment?
Watch as Dr. Joseph K. Lim, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Yale Viral Hepatitis Program at the Yale University School of Medicine shares with you treatment options for viral Hepatitis C.
Treatment for Hepatitis C may depend on several factors, including:
- How much virus is in your body (your viral load)
- The genotype or type of Hep C you have
- If you have liver damage, such as cirrhosis
- What other health conditions you have
- The response to any previous treatments for Hepatitis C
Treatment may not be an option as the medications available to treat Hep C have serious side effects, are too expensive and do not work for everyone.
Acute (short-term) Hepatitis C
A majority of people with an acute Hepatitis C infection often do not know they have the virus and therefore do not get treated. However, if a person realizes that they may have been exposed to the virus – like a healthcare worker who gets a needle stick – an acute Hepatitis C infection can be identified early and medication may be recommended.
Doctors sometimes just recommend bed rest, drinking lots of fluids, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol. You must see your doctor regularly for follow-up blood tests to make sure your body has fully recovered from the virus.
Chronic (long-term) Hepatitis C
If after taking blood tests and a liver biopsy, it shows that you have a chronic Hepatitis C infection with liver damage, you may be treated with a combination of antiviral medications intended to clear the virus from your body.
If the blood tests and liver biopsy shows that you have a chronic Hepatitis C infection but NO damage to your liver, immediate treatment may not be needed.