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Curing Hepatitis C Improves Extrahepatic Manifestations

June 11, 2018

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Getting the latest treatment to eradicate the Hepatitis C virus has benefits that go well beyond liver health.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver that can take decades to cause symptoms and damage the liver. Although Hepatitis C is a liver infection, this disease can cause several known health problems outside of the liver. Also known as extrahepatic manifestations, these additional health burdens seem to improve after successful elimination of the Hepatitis C virus.

Over the past few years, antiviral therapy for Hepatitis C has become increasingly effective, boasting a treatment success rate in the high 90th percentile. Unfortunately, these medications are very expensive, so getting insurance to cover them can be a challenge. Nonetheless, efforts to get the latest Hepatitis C treatment are worthwhile because the liver – and other organs reap the benefits. For those attempting to get Hepatitis C medication coverage, make sure to report any and all extrahepatic manifestations to your physician, because some of the more serious extrahepatic manifestations may even help you qualify for Hepatitis C treatment.

8 Common Extrahepatic Manifestations

Extrahepatic manifestations of Hepatitis C are conditions that affect organs other than the liver can be found in the eyes, skin, joints, immune system, nervous system and kidneys. Several studies have found that between 70 and 74 percent of Hepatitis C patients experience extrahepatic manifestations.

Some of the most common include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Joint pain
  3. Pruritus (severe itching)
  4. Insulin resistance
  5. Kidney disease
  6. Thyroid disease
  7. Thrombocytopenia (blood clotting disorder)
  8. Cryoglobulinemia (blood protein disorder)

Extrahepatic manifestations typically require medical care that is outside of the protocol for treating Hepatitis C. However, a newly released study indicates that focusing on Hepatitis C elimination bodes well for associated extrahepatic manifestations.

About the Study

As published in a June 2018 edition of the journal Gut, a meta-analysis of nearly 50 studies found that sustained virologic response (SVR) after Hepatitis C viral treatment reduced extrahepatic manifestations. Sustained virologic response is the desired endpoint of treatment (sometimes called a cure), where there are no detectable Hepatitis C viral particles in the blood six months after treatment ends.

In this analysis, French researchers conducted a systematic review of 48 studies over the course of 28 years. Outcomes of people who achieved SVR were compared with those who did not achieve SVR.

10 Valuable Details of This Meta-Analysis

  1. Eleven studies showed that SVR from Hepatitis C was associated with a 21-fold increased likelihood of complete remission of the extrahepatic manifestation cryoglobulinemia vasculitis – inflammation of small blood vessels.
  2. Sixteen studies showed that SVR from Hepatitis C was associated with a 21-fold increased likelihood of improvement of the extrahepatic manifestation cryoglobulinemia vasculitis.
  3. Four studies showed that SVR from Hepatitis C was associated with a 56 percent lower likelihood of dying of non-liver-related causes.
  4. Among those without diabetes, 11 studies showed a 58 percent reduced chance of developing insulin resistance if individuals achieved SVR from Hepatitis C.
  5. Seven studies showed that the rate of diagnosis of diabetes was reduced by 66 percent among those who achieved SVR from Hepatitis C.
  6. One study found that achieving SVR from Hepatitis C was linked to a 63 percent lower risk of major adverse health events related to cardiovascular disease.
  7. One study showed a 30 percent reduced risk of ischemic heart events (restriction of blood supply to tissues) in those who achieved SVR from Hepatitis C.
  8. Three studies showed that achieving SVR from Hepatitis C reduced kidney related extrahepatic manifestations by 85 percent.
  9. In two studies, achieving SVR from Hepatitis C was associated with a slight reduction in joint pain.
  10. One study found that achieving SVR from Hepatitis C was linked to a 63 percent lower risk of major adverse health events related to cardiovascular disease, while another linked SVR from Hepatitis C to a 30 percent reduced risk of ischemic heart events (restriction of blood supply to tissues).

Grouped together, extrahepatic manifestations of Hepatitis C take a major hit when this liver virus is eliminated. The recently published, French, meta-analysis presents even more support for getting the latest Hepatitis C treatment.

Editor’s Note: The medical community may view a person who completed treatment successfully as “cured,” but their liver health may still be weakened from their ordeal. Since successful treatment is often predated by years–or decades–of harm to liver cells, nourishing, supporting, protecting and strengthening surviving liver cells can help improve liver function and enhance the liver’s resilience to future challenges. Read more.

http://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2018/04/27/gutjnl-2018-316234, Impact of sustained virological response on the extrahepatic manifestations of chronic hepatitis C: a meta-analysis, P. Cacoub, et al, Retrieved June 9, 2018, Gut, June 2018.

http://hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/Extrahepatic.pdf, An Overview of Extrahepatic Manifestations of Hepatitis C, Alan Franciscus, Hepatitis C Support Project, 2018.

https://www.hepmag.com/article/curing-hep-c-linked-lowered-nonliverrelated-health-risks?utm_source=phplist730&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Curing+Hep+C+Linked+to+Lowered+Health+Risks, Curing Hep C Is Linked to Lowered Non-Liver-Related Health Risks, Benjamin Ryan, Retrieved June 9, 2018, Smart + Strong, 2018.

https://www.medpagetoday.com/gastroenterology/generalhepatology/72676?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2018-05-04&eun=g605133d0r&pos=1&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Headlines%202018-05-04&utm_term=Daily%20Headlines%20-%20Active%20User%20-%20180%20days, SVR Tied to Reduced Extrahepatic Impact of HCV, Diana Swift, Retrieved June 9, 2018, MedPage Today, LLC, 2018.

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