The latest research & treatment news about Hepatitis C infection, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment.

Hepatitis C

What is the Conventional Medical Treatment for Hepatitis C?

Not all people who have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C need treatment, especially in the case of acute Hepatitis. Medication may be prescribed, however, bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids, avoidance of alcohol and eating a healthy diet will be recommended by the doctor. It is important to work closely with one’s doctor and follow up with tests to make sure the virus has cleared the body.

Some people won’t be treated because they don’t know they have the Hepatitis C virus.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis C will probably be treated with various combinations of medication. The type of treatment as well as the length of treatment for Hepatitis C depends on the genotype of the virus. Working closely with one’s physician, using an open line of communication will help in determining the best course of action.

For various medications used for the treatment of Hepatitis C, please visit our Medications to Treat Hepatitis C Timeline.

Finally, if the liver is severely damaged, a liver transplant may be recommended. End-stage liver disease (cirrhosis) due to chronic Hepatitis C viral infection is the number one reason for liver transplantation in the United States. During the transplant procedure, the diseased liver will be replaced with a healthy liver from an organ donor or from a live donor who donates a portion of their healthy liver. However, contrary to popular misconception, a liver transplant is not a cure for Hepatitis C. Unfortunately, the Hepatitis C virus recurs in the new liver in almost all cases, with fibrosis (scarring of the liver) or cirrhosis occurring in 10% to 30% of patients in as little as 5 years after the transplant.

Further studies are needed to develop better strategies to prevent recurrence of infection after a liver transplant as well as better treatment protocols after reinfection of the liver has occurred.

Mayo Clinic “Acute Liver Failure” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/liver-failure/DS00961. Retrieved May 20, 2011

Medscape “Diagnosis and Management of Acute Liver Failure” http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/720697_3. Retrieved May 20, 2011

Palmer, M.D., Melissa. Dr. Melissa Palmer’s Guide to Hepatitis & Liver Disease. New York: Avery Trade, 2004.

U.S. National Library of Medicine NIH National Institutes of Health “Acute liver failure caused by 'fat burners' and dietary supplements: a case report and literature review” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21499580. Retrieved May 20, 2011

U.S. National Library of Medicine NIH National Institutes of Health “Influence of high body mass index on outcome in acute liver failure” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16996806. Retrieved May 20, 2011< Worman, MD Howard J. The Liver Disorders and Hepatitis Sourcebook. McGraw-Hill, 2006