New Alternative Treatment for Hepatitis C
At the initial stage of infection, most people with hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. However, when the liver is more damaged over a period of time, they may develop extreme tiredness which means that the disease progresses from inflammation to cirrhosis. Dr.Sith Siramolpiwat, board-certified gastroenterologist states that “patients who develop cirrhosis can notice some symptoms like fatigue and loss of appetite; it is not serious, so they do not visit the physician. If left untreated, symptoms such as yellowing of the skin, swelling legs, and pain in the upper right side of the abdomen will occur causing the patient to visit the doctor.
Traditional treatment for Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is typically treated with interferon injections plus ribavirin pills. However, this therapy does not produce successful result for hepatitis C virus genotype 1 and 4. The treatment duration is 48 weeks with only 50% of success rate and will increase to 70-80% for genotype 2 and 3 which takes around 24 weeks to complete the treatment.
Side effect of traditional treatment
Interferon injections along with ribavirin pills cause a serious side effect including fatigue, poor appetite, weight loss, hair fall and in some cases, low white blood cell counts and low platelet count. Common side effect of ribavirin also includes low red blood cell counts (anemia). The patient with advanced liver cirrhosis or severe allergic reaction; therefore, cannot receive this traditional treatment since the medicine given may lead to liver failure.
New Alternative treatment
In general, there are a number of treatment options which depend on HCV genotype and patient's condition. Today, Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir have been a new medication that show outstanding efficiency in treating patients with hepatitis C, having 90-95% success rate. This novel medication also causes fewer side effects. Due to extremely high cost of this novel medicine, if the patient is able to be treated with interferon injections, new medicine will be given together with interferon to help reduce medication costs. However, some patients who cannot be administered by interferon, daclatasvir–sofosbuvir combination therapy is then necessary.
Treatment for patient with cirrhosis
If the symptoms of patient become severe and lead to the development of cirrhosis, doctors frequently give sofosbuvir and daclatasvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks which can achieve cure rates of approximately 90%. Some patient who cannot tolerate ribavirin, only sofosbuvir and daclatasvir will be administered but the duration of the treatment will increase to 24 weeks.
How to Prevent Hepatitis C Infection
Hepatitis C virus is transmitted primarily through blood transfer, so avoiding direct exposure to blood is the best prevention. Gastroenterologist suggests that you can protect yourself from hepatitis C by not sharing personal care items such as toothbrushes, razors, nail and hair clippers, and scissors. Gloves should be worn every single time when coming into direct contact with blood. If you want to get a tattoo, choose a licensed tattoo and piercing artist who follows appropriate sanitary procedures.
Annual health check-up is one way to help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis C before it turns to serious health problem. As mentioned before, most people infected with hepatitis C have no symptoms, but screening test can show whether you are infected. If you catch it early, it's easier to treat and the treatment will be more effective than found when cirrhosis have already developed.
You may find our specialist here at GI and Liver Center, Phyathai 2 Hopsital
Phyathai 2 Hospital
International Correspondence Center
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