Is Hepatitis C curable?
First, you need to know the fact that there is actually no vaccine available for Hepatitis C like it is available for Hepatitis A and B. But you can cure the ailment of Hepatitis C with the help of treatment options.
According to the American Liver Foundation (ALF), Hepatitis C can lead to severe health issues like liver problems, cirrhosis, liver failure and even cancer if not correctly treated on time.
Hepatitis C had no permanent cure since past 20 years. Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed many antivirals such as direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medications that attack hepatitis C more effectively. Moreover, these drugs have given much better results as compared to the previous treatments. Hepatitis C can be cured if the treatment is taken at the right time. Even if you can have an infection, you should consult the doctor for the analysis.
By following the various options of treatment like the drug therapy, the Hepatitis C can be healed from the body. Doctors consider this ailment cured if the virus is not found in the blood after measuring with the blood test three months after the completion of the treatment. This process is termed as sustained virologic response [ SVR] and this particular data suggests that a person will stay free of virus for an indefinite period. After this, it is quite important for the person to keep himself as healthy as possible. He will also have to go for the frequent medical appointments and also do the check-ups on a regular basis. The person who once was suffering from this particular ailment should remember one thing that he can be subject to re-infection if he is exposed to the high-risk situations like injection drug use. So one has to do everything possible thing to avoid these conditions or situations. If the need arises, the person who previously suffered from this ailment should consult to a substance abuse counsellor.
Source: amfAR :: The Foundation for AIDS Research
Treatment options for Hepatitis C
There are several factors responsible for the treatment of Hepatitis C. You need to know the amount of virus in the body, this is also called as the viral load. Apart from this, there is also a requirement of knowing the genotype or the strain of Hepatitis C you have. It is important to know whether the infected person has a liver damage or cirrhosis apart from various other health conditions that he possesses. It is also important to know about the response regarding the earlier treatments for this ailment.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sources, one out of four people who sustain Hepatitis C virus can be cured from the conditions eventually, without treatment. Hepatitis C could be a short-term acute infection for those who contracts the virus, and for them it is totally curable without any treatment.
Acute hepatitis C- short term
The big problem arises because vast people who are suffering from Hepatitis C do not actually know whether they have the virus and this becomes the reason that they do not get treated. If the person realises like the health care worker getting the needle stick, in such case, the acute Hepatitis C infection is identified at the early stage and there is a need for medical recommendations. In such a case, there is a recommendation by the doctors for the bed rest. Moreover, the patient has to drink a lot of fluids He also has to take healthy diet apart from avoiding the alcohol intake. It is important to go to the doctor on a regular basis for the follow-up blood tests so that the body gets completely recovered from the virus.
Chronic Hepatitis C –long term
In a case of chronic Hepatitis C, the patient has the HCV virus and the presence of this virus is for six months or more. There are certain people who already have the chronic Hepatitis C because they were already infected with it years before and they do not know this. In such a case, the health care provider will determine the level of damage or scarring in the liver. If there is the presence of intense scarring also called the cirrhosis, then there is need of treatment with the help of antiviral medications as this is the recommendation from the doctor. If the patient is having the mild scarring also referred as the early state fibrosis, it is important to consider Hepatitis C treatment in order to avoid the long-term complications of the disease. Despite the fact that when you are not in the risk zone for so many years, you still have to do regular visits to the doctor. In the present medical world, you have the availability of short, easy and impactful treatment regimens and it is a sort of good luck and due to this, no patient should avoid the treatment procedures. You have to discuss all the risks as well as benefits if you are deciding to pursue the treatment with your healthcare provider.
Medicines to Cure Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C virus can cause acute and chronic infections. About 15% to 45% Hepatitis C infected person can eliminate virus without treatment, within the 6 months of infection. Rest 55 – 85% of the person will suffer chronic HCV infection and some of them might also face serious liver issues.
Protease inhibitor drugs are mainly to treat hepatitis C and also sustained virologic response or SVR. SVR is the amount of hepatitis virus in your system, and if it is low that it can’t be detected 12 weeks after you finish treatment, you can say that your hepatitis C infection is cured after the SVR treatment.
Apart from the drugs like sofosbuvir, which can be taken as per the consultation of doctor for multiple weeks in continuity, it is important to take precautions as far as prevention is concerned. It is important for the patient to know that there is actually no vaccine available for Hepatitis C but prevention will solve many things way better with the concerned ailment. In case, you are injecting drugs, it is advised not to share the needles and other things like water, cotton or spoon with other, it can cause a spread of viruses. In case, you want to stop drugs, it is advised to go for drug treatment programs. Many of them are available. If you are a healthcare worker, you have to follow the safety guidelines, like wearing protective gloves and clothes. Moreover, if you have the body pierced or tattooed, you have to get the body pierced. And if you are going for acupressure, sterilisation is needed to be in mind.
Cost of Hepatitis C treatment in Developed Countries
There is need of multiple week treatments for hepatitis c and the cost is quite high in the developed countries. It is because of various medicinal combinations that vary patient to patient. Because of the high cost of original Sofosbuvir in developed nations, the medical cost varies from 66000 USD to 84000 USD for a course of three months. However, in countries like India, the medical cost is considerably cheaper than developed countries. Indian drug manufacturers have released generic medicines in the market that are affordable by the general public. People from developed nations, who cannot afford the treatment costs, directly get generic hepatitis c medicines from India.
Generic Hep C Drugs in Developing Countries
Financially feasible generic antiviral drugs are as effective and safe as more expensive drugs in treating and controlling the Hep C virus.
The treatment and medication cost to cure Hepatitis C could be really expensive as much as $94,000 a patient, and many of the people might not be able to afford this.
However, a large production of generic drugs for Hep C are available for less than 1 percent of the retail price. A full course of direct-acting antiviral drug that costs $94,000 a patient in the United States can be procured in general form for less than $1,000.