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The 9 Truths About Hepatitis C Treatment Success

February 1, 2017

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Does Hepatitis C go into remission? Is Hepatitis C curable? Can Hepatitis C reemerge? Let’s delve into these questions!

As the medications for Hepatitis C continue to improve, greater numbers of people are relishing in their successful treatment outcomes. Despite finally being free of the Hepatitis C virus, most physicians refrain from telling their patients they are cured. The reason for avoiding this terminology is uncertainty regarding the implications of successful Hepatitis C treatment.

Many Hepatitis C drug regimens now boast a 95 percent or higher success rate. Successful treatment is defined as achieving a sustained viral response (SVR). SVR is considered attained when Hepatitis C is not detectable in the blood for at least six months after the last treatment dose. The hesitancy about SVR being the same as a cure has to do with whether or not it is permanent. Some healthcare practitioners will use the word “cure” because SVR is as close as we can get to curing Hepatitis C. Meanwhile, others will use the word “remission” because of doubts as to the permanence of SVR. Neither is entirely accurate.

In an effort to clarify Hepatitis C treatment success facts and Hepatitis C treatment success unknowns, below is a list of what we know to be true:

  1. Studies report that once patients have achieved SVR, they have a 99.2 to 100 percent chance of remaining free of Hepatitis C. In other words, less than 1 percent of people who achieve SVR experience a return of Hepatitis C infection.
  2. If Hepatitis C does return after achieving SVR, there is a good chance it is due to re-exposure, and being infected again with the virus.
  3. Some studies suggest that there are two groups at higher risk of Hepatitis C returning after SVR: injection drug users or prisoners, and those co-infected with HIV.
  4. Different from several other diseases, having Hepatitis C once does not provide immunity from getting it again.
  5. Even with SVR, there will still be Hepatitis C antibodies. This does not mean you are still infected. If there is no detectable Hepatitis C virus in the blood, there is nothing to transmit to others. Antibodies are your immune system’s response to a pathogen and are not infectious.
  6. After achieving SVR, routine Hepatitis C screening is typically advised to make sure you remain free of the virus and to catch any reemergence right away should it occur. A quantitative Hepatitis C RNA test that detects viral load is appropriate, not a Hepatitis C antibody test.
  7. After achieving SVR, doctors are hesitant to give patients permission to drink alcohol. This is due to many complicating factors. For example, drinking alcohol is extremely dangerous for those with liver cirrhosis – even if Hepatitis C has been eradicated.
  8. After achieving SVR, liver health almost always improves. This includes improved liver histology, reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, and improved overall survival.
  9. With adherence to lifestyle choices that promote liver health, fibrosis has shown the capability of reversing after achieving SVR.

Compared to most other infectious diseases, the treatment and eradication of Hepatitis C is still in its relative infancy. The medical community is continuously learning and evolving, working hard to eliminate this viral infection of the liver.

The nine truths listed above are based on what we know to be true. There are still several unknowns, and until those unknowns are clarified, most physicians abstain from calling SVR a cure.

There is one thing for certain, achieving SVR is the closest we have to Hepatitis C eradication – and the likelihood of SVR being permanent is very, very high.

http://hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/HCV_Neg.pdf, HCV Negative: A Guide for Healthy Living with out Hepatitis C, Lucinda K. Porter, RN, Retrieved January 15, 2017, Hepatitis C Support Project, 2017.

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/if-im-cured-of-hepatitis-c-when-is-it-safe-to-drink-again-051415#4, If I'm Cured of Hepatitis C, When Is It Safe to Drink Again?, David Heitz, Retrieved January 15, 2017, Healthline Media, 2017.

http://www.lifebeyondhepatitisc.com/2016/07/3-common-questions-about-hep-c-recurrence-and-steps-to-avoid-hep-c-reinfection/, 3 Common Questions about Hep C Recurrence and Steps to Avoid Hep C Reinfection, Retrieved January 15, 2017, Connie M. Welch LLC, 2017.

http://www.mdmag.com/medical-news/recurrence-of-hepatitis-c-after-treatment-studied, Recurrence of Hepatitis C After Treatment Studied, Katheraine Kolonko, Retrieved January 15, 2017, MD Magazine, 2017.

http://www.thebody.com/content/78157/after-the-hepatitis-c-cure-post-treatment-care.html, After the Hepatitis C Cure: Post-Treatment Care, Retrieved January 15, 2017, TheBody.com, 2017.

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HepatitisCentral.com provides information regarding hepatitis and liver disease. Comments are available to the community in order to discuss these topics and obtain answers to questions through community members. The Editors at HepatitisCentral.com will not be responding to questions or comments posed in article comments.

64 Comments

  • Steve Ellis says:

    Epclusa and RIBA. I was very close to Cirrotic……F4. After 5 weeks, I am “Undetectable.”, Albumin if headed back up, and Platelets are in Normal Range.

  • Doddy Suhono says:

    I got Hep C in early 2013, treated with Interferon + Ribavirin for 24 weeks and got undetected result, until mid of 2016, when it relapsed, then I took Sovosbuvir + Daklata

    • Teri Gottlieb says:

      After 3 years that’s not a relapse, its a new infection.

      • Bama Dan says:

        Sweetie you are so misinformed for saying that! I do wish those who chose to give medical advice have at least a little info about what they are talking about. With that being said i went thru a year of Interferon and also 6 months of Pegasyst and now and still SVR. You can have hep. c return at any time.I know i was a bit harsh but i do get tired of people making statements that are 100% untrue…

        • Teri Gottlieb says:

          That information came from multiple doctors and scientists who have developed HCV drugs. After 2 years, it’s no longer a relapse. It’s a new infection.

          • trotter says:

            Teri, please listen, it’s a relapse. And people w/Cirrhosis especially need to go in every 6 months to make sure they’re not on the road to Liver Cancer. So, please let us all let people know they can relapse.

          • Teri Gottlieb says:

            You need to do more research.

          • trotter says:

            I read official newsletters from roughly 10 reputable medical outlets, every day, every month, etc. and take it for truth if almost all of them agree. This site is the only site that on occasion disagrees with every other place about Cirrhosis being NOT reversible at this time.
            Teri, YOU are wrong to disagree with that. You might look at all the comments, realize everybody else disagrees, and go back and check other sources out.
            Unless you’re paid by this site!?

          • Teri Gottlieb says:

            So you’re saying cirrhosis is NOT reversible? Tell that to my liver which has healed from cirrhosis!

          • trotter says:

            TERI, let me guess…something they sell on this site cleared u all up, right!?

            U are on this site 24 hrs. a day, every day. Are u possibly a shill for hepcentral?

            People with Cirrhosis must go and get checked every 6 months.
            Please people need to know to keep checking to live.

            Why not put any article that says Cirrhosis is reversible. Proof it to me!

            Do u REALLY have Hep C or are u paid to spread garbage her? Proof it or don’t keep putting falsehoods in here.

            I getting tired of going back and forth with u, But, I do in case 1 person listens to u.

          • Teri Gottlieb says:

            Okay, I’m going to answer your questions because that’s the type of person I am not because you asked in any way that was deserving of a response.

            NO. Nothing they sell on this site cleared me of anything. I went thru 48 weeks of Peg-Interferon and Ribavirin in 2005-2006. I believe that milk thistle and dandelion tea are bullshit. I have maintained that stance for many, many years.

            I am hardly ever on this site, something we cannot say for you. In my lifetime on this site I have commented 10 times… You, have commented 151 times. It appears YOU are living on this site. I am NOT a schill for HepCentral… I have my own website, thank you very much. I do, however believe that HepCentral is a credible site for Hepatitis C information.

            When I was diagnosed, my liver was so bad that if treatment didn’t work for me within the first 8 weeks, I would have needed to be placed on the transplant list… Because I was so critical, I was given double the recommended dosages of both Peg-Interferon and Ribavirin. I took 14, 200mg Ribavirins a day. I did this for a full 48 weeks. I was treated by one of the top Hepatologists in the United States. I am grateful to him for saving my life. At the 5 year, post treatment appointment, I was informed that my liver was clean again. It had regenerated itself. See, your liver, is the only organ that regenerates. Once you have cleared HCV your liver starts to regenerate. Not everyone who clears will have a complete regeneration but many will. At my 5 year follow up appointment, I was told I no longer have to worry about HCV. Unless I somehow get reinfected, which I don’t plan on, I am going to be fine. I no longer needed follow up by the Hepatologist.

            I am a Certified Hepatitis C Educator. I spent 2 years traveling in the U.S. speaking to groups of doctors, nurses, social workers and patient care professionals about Hepatitis C treatment. I told them the TRUTH about treatment with Peg-Interferon and Ribavirin. I told them the things the drug companies didn’t want them to know. I opened a lot of eyes.

            I have met and spoke with at length the doctors and scientists who were on the cutting edge of the new drugs… this is before Harvoni. I asked every one of them about relapse versus reinfection. Their answers were on the generous side… If it occurs after 18 months, it is a re-infection.

            I noticed that you are also arguing the use of the word “cured”. For the new drugs that have come out, I agree, the word “cured” is a stretch because there isn’t enough data. However, for those who treated on the old Standard of Care, they have more than 20 years of data to prove the cure holds.

            I know you are reading the information that you can but I believe you are incredibly misinformed. You have just enough information to be dangerous on a site like this. I really think you should speak to more people who are experts in the field and rely less on what you are reading. The problem with getting information from articles is that it can be easily misconstrued.

            I have yet to put any falsehood on any website. I can back everything I say up with facts.

          • Silvia Price says:

            Teri, you need to read this.
            “Risk of Late Relapse or Reinfection With Hepatitis C Virus After Achieving a Sustained Virological Response”
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26787172

          • trotter says:

            And since Hep C is a BLOOD disease, to completely get every drop of Hep C out of a person, they would have to have every drop of that blood drained out. Not possible.

          • Silvia Price says:

            There are relapses after two years Teri. There are several cases of people that took immunosuppressant meds and relapsed years after obtaining SVR.

          • Teri Gottlieb says:

            But only when immunosuppressants were involved… Most HCV patients aren’t on those drugs… Unless they’ve had a transplant or have one of the handful of diseases that require those drugs.

          • Bama Dan says:

            That information came from multiple doctors and scientists who have DEVELOPED HCV DRUGS…..See what i’m trying to say now? If you developed drugs for sale would you say no my drugs do not always work as planned? I underwent Interferon treatment back in 2001 and am still living in hell with perm. side effects…ask me i’ll tell you about drugs,and if they was so great why are they no longer using them? O right new new drugs have come into play…Pharmacy Company’s will tell you anything to buy there drug!

        • David Pieper says:

          Mate, you are the one who is misinformed and unnecessarily condescending and, it seems, confused. If you have SVR, you are cured. If the treatment doesn’t work, you still have HCV. Pegasys IS interferon. Relapse, if it occurs, is within 6 months, usually much less. And BTW I don’t work for “Big Pharma” and you are not the only one who has been through hell on interferon.

      • trotter says:

        No, people relapse all the time, most don’t though.

  • Doddy Suhono says:

    The I took Sovosbuvir + daklatasvir for 24 weeks, now am checking if am in SVR position, question : can it be relapsed again after sovos + dakla for 24 weeks ?

  • Jim says:

    After contracting Hepatitis C at age 14 from a blood transfusion (1962) and being diagnosed with non-A/B hepatitis 15 years later, and, finally, hepatitis C years after that, I suffered many side effects of the disease throughout the years (memory impairment, auto-immune disease symptoms, arthritis, chronic fatigue and, ultimately, liver cirrhosis). Finally at age 68 I became SVR as a result of the latest wonder drugs. Although the financial cost was staggering, to be viral free and, maybe “cured”, my only regret is that more couldn’t have been done for me at an earlier age. I may, or may not still get liver cancer and may, or may not, need a liver transplant. EVERYONE should be tested for this silent disease regularly throughout their lives, starting with the teen years.

    • trotter says:

      I can relate to a lot of what u have been through. The old tx.s w/interferon were horrible. And I go in each 6 months to check for liver cancer. You aren’t alone. I’ll be thinking of you. Take care.

  • Patricia M Burckhardt says:

    You are right Jim about the drugs, I’m one of the fortunate ones with Hep C that finally got the “latest wonder drugs” and was “cured” after a liver transplant. My story is similar to yours, blood transfusion, disease, symptoms of arthritis, fatigue, and end stage liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and transplant at age 69, finally free of Hep C but still afraid of any other problems down the road. However at my age, my road is not that long anymore. I went through 2 treatments for the Hep C before the transplant and boy these new drugs and I’m here to tell you you are lucky you had these new drugs. Between interferon and ribavirin, they try to kill you and these new drugs are very expensive but much easier on your system than those previously used. Even chemo was easier that those drugs. Just be thankful you’re free of those symptoms and go on with the life you have right now, no point in regretting what might have been. And yes, everyone should be tested, especially baby boomers.

    • priscilla j. hagopian says:

      My husband took Harvoni and it worked! The first appt. showed no traces left of the virus. That was 6 wks after finishing the pills. Now, he goes back in feb. to have it checked again, so we’ll see.

    • trotter says:

      Interferon/Ribavirin made me feel like a MAC truck ran over me. And the 2nd time through, it took my mind (at least a part of it). And you also went through the transplant. And I’m 62 and probably like you, feel about 80 sometimes. I keep hoping somebody will research Cirrhosis and SOON. Take care Patricia, may u have some good days coming.

      • Diana E Saenz says:

        Cirrhosis is bad and I have been diagnosed with it as a result of the HepC. It doesn’t appear to be too far gone, but I am still talking to doctors. I am also going to a Traditional Chinese Doctor. There is an herbal drug called Fuzheng Huayu which is effective in treating fibrosis with positive impact on cirrhosis. NO YOU CANNOT ROLL BACK your cirrhosis, but if you’re not too far gone, it will help.
        https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2015/125659/

    • Diana E Saenz says:

      I was diagnosed last October and ordered the $74k drug from Beacon Pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh where I paid less than $1000. I am currently taking Epclusa and just went in for the 4 week test. Wish me luck. I did careful research on Indian company and they are supposedly the company Gilead have the rights to Beacon to reproduce the drug for their Indian population. it is legal for individuals to buy this drug in America. I will try to get back to you in a few days with great results.

      • Patricia M Burckhardt says:

        Good luck Diana.

        • Diana E Saenz says:

          I was tested and found to be HepC free. So for anyone who cannot afford the hefty $74k price tag, Go to Beacon Pharmaceuticals.

          • Momo says:

            Hi I want to know that did u get hepatitis C drugs from beacon pharmaceutical.I am also interested to buy from other country because in canada it is so expensive.Do I need doctor prescription for getting meds from beacon
            pharmaceutical.

          • Diana E Saenz says:

            I did get a prescription, because I wanted to make sure that’s what the doctor recommended Epclusa. Beacon did not ask me for it though, but I sent it anyway.

          • Sometimes people have pills left over. A friend of mine was on Harvoni & she had to get off of it. She now has a one-month prescription of namebrand harvoni pills still in the bottles, everything legit, etc.
            I know it’s not legal but I’ve heard of people helping other people out.
            Of course anything is a risk.
            She was thinking about donating the pills to a place in San Francisco that treats LGBTQ people who cannot afford meds

  • David says:

    Pharmaceutical companies based their 95% success rate on achieving SVR at 12 weeks post treatment, which really counts for nothing!! To claim 95% success would be if people were SVR negative 3 to 5 years post treatment, then we could call it a cure! Another thing to consider is the fact that most people treated with those new wonder drugs are still suffering side affects 2 and 3 years post treatment, and in some cases it actually accelerated the development of liver cancer due to the use of those “wonder” drugs, so think twice before you allow a doctor to turn you into a guinea pig. Ask questions like, 1, would the chronic fatigue will go away? 2, will the insomnia go away? 3, will the foggy brain go away? 3,will the never stopping Tinnitus go away? 4,will the depression stop? 5, will the joint pains and arthritis will go away? and so on. So, when you first find a pharmaceutical company that can guaranty that, and a specialist doctor who will confirm that, only then consider using those “wonder” drugs. don’t ever forget that people were treated with Interferon for years… Interferon is a poison!! I wouldn’t let my dog use it let alone a human being!! At the moment doctors just don’t know what works, what will cure you, so they say try this and lets see what happens, lets see how that works, which translates to turning human beings into guinea pigs!! Do you want to become a guinea pig?…it’s up to you. And one last but most important thing, pharmaceutical companies never released any “percentage rates” of how many people died or committed suicide during treatment… I wonder why?…and so should you!!

    • Nici Roush says:

      I had the European genotype. I was one of the fortunate ones. Six months of Peg-Intron (Pegasys/Interferon) and Doctor wrote “A true cure” across my papers! Many wanted to argue that point. But 14 years later I am still SVR.
      I prepared for the worst. I actually had Hepatic Encephalopathy and was very ill, alone with a six year old! I had no hair loss, no nausea, nothing but extreme fatigue which I was used to. After three months the virus was undetectable!
      I realize I’m one of the lucky ones.

    • [email protected] says:

      Hi David, Clinical Studies are critical before reliant drug to the public. It’s people that undertake these Clinical Studies. Without some very brave people in this world, no drugs would be released for any treatment of every kind. You call these brave people “Guinea Pigs” which I personally believe is belittling all those who have been before us. I have been on Interferon & Ribaviran which was a nightmare. After about 20 weeks in this combination I was admitted to hospital via Ambulance to Emergency as I had no control over my body & was barely able to speak. After the doctors consulted with other doctors in the UK it became very clear that I was having the very rare & very worst side effect possible. My major organs were shutting down. I was one of those “Guinea pigs”, as you put it. That was 9 years ago.
      With great trepidation I commenced Daklinza, Sovaldi and 1000mg of Ribavirin almost 3 weeks ago and for 24 weeks. I’m not a part of this Clinical Study and I’m eternally grateful to those who were. I’ve cirrhosis & a very strong Christian Faith, and I believe healing can come “if we ask and truly believe”
      I’m sure you didn’t mean to belittle those who have been “Guinea pigs” but without then, all the people who are now SVR would not be.
      I have side effects, many in fact, but knowing the end result will very likely be a “cure”, these side effects are all very bearable. “ask and it shall be given@

  • Soh Sunny says:

    Direct Acting Antivirals under brand names of Harvoni, Sovaldi, Epclusa, and Dalkinza have been very efficient for the treatment of Hep C. In fact the Indian generic market has helped over 12 million people of over 120 low and middle income countries to fight this disease. Countries of South Asia are hoping to be Hep C free by the year 2020.

    • Mir Ahmed Ali says:

      Hope is there GOD Bless you

    • alGrande57 says:

      after getting tired of fighting with blue cross for treatment, I came across an article written by Phillip Smith on ALTERNET. He too, had Hep C and opted for generic Harvoni from India that he bought for $1500. It cured him. Long story short, I too bought the meds from India from a pharmacy called CARE EXIM. It cost me $1000. I am currently 30 pills into the 84 day treatment

      • Soh Sunny says:

        Great to know you used our service, please keep us updated on your treatment, we hope to hear as always great news of recovery, best wishes!

        • alGrande57 says:

          Thank you. Are you part of care exim?

          • Soh Sunny says:

            Yes! Care Exim, Sunny Pharma are subsidiaries of Soul of Healing a nonprofit that provides access to affordable treatment for Hep C.

          • alGrande57 says:

            I have a question for you. I am 3 years removed from stage 4 cancer treatment, thankfully i”m cancer-free now. I wanted to wait until I achieved that status before starting on Harvoni. I will finish in 2 months. Do you possibly know where I can get the Hep C SVR Quantitive test when I am finished? I live in south florida, any info is much appreciated! thanks again Soh Sunny

          • Soh Sunny says:

            Once you are done please contact your doctor to arrange for your tests. If you do not have coverage and the rates for the tests are high then use this following resource page to find out more information http://www.hepchope.com/treating-hep-c/helpful-resources
            We hope to hear some great news once you are done with the course of your treatment.

          • alGrande57 says:

            thank you very much, i appreciate you taking the time for the info! ..Peace

          • Silvia Price says:

            Please be aware that DAA’s can reactivate cancers.

          • alGrande57 says:

            What are DAA’s Silvia?

      • Aaron says:

        That’s so awesome you were able to get it at an affordable price. We battled back & forth for years with insurance when there was only interferon. I was 18/19 y.o. then when I was diagnosed. It wasn’t until 17 years later with Obamacare when I got Medicare, by then Harvoni had come out & the company said “it’ll be $364,000, how would you like to pay for that”? Thankfully I had an awesome Indian doctor / liver specialist at the University of Wisconsin & the thanks to the ACA (Obamacare) I not only got approved but I didn’t have to pay a dime. This was last summer (2016) and have had negative blood work, meaning hep c free/no trace since.

  • zenseekercu says:

    “With adherence to lifestyle choices that promote liver health, both cirrhosis and fibrosis have shown the capability of reversing after achieving SVR.”

    My doctor told me that there is no reversing cirrhosis. I am in SVR after treatment with Olysia and Sovosbuvir in early 2014. I was told I have a very mild cirrhosis (14.3 on Fibroscan); my doctor said I will show improvement, but he said once you have cirrhosis, you just have it. He compared it to a scar on your skin; once it’s there, it may fade a bit, but you will always have it. I was also told I could have an “occasional” beer if I wished, but I choose not to do so. I went through 12 years of hell with the Interferon/Rivavirin treatments (4 attempts), and choose to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I don’t ever want to have to go through anything like that again.

    As far as the “wonder” drugs, it’s up to you as to whether you choose to use them or not. I was very pleased with my drug combo. I only had a mild headache, on occasion, and I actually started feeling BETTER towards the end of the drug therapy, as it killed off the virus.

  • Danny says:

    I read some years ago in one these comments that you cannot be completely cured without a bone marrow transplant, same as other diseases in the blood.

  • trotter says:

    This is a msg. to Hepatitis Central:

    Please send me written proof telling that Cirrhosis may be reversed.

    I monitor numerous articles in newsletters from medical institutions. And everywhere I read, it’s been repeated that Cirrhosis can not be reversed.

    Even after treatment and remission, people w/Cirrhosis need to get an ultrasound and bloodwork done to make sure Liver Cancer is not coming around.

  • trotter says:

    EVERYONE: this site is good for getting some data out there on Hep C.
    But, this site sells pharmaceuticals and advertises things supposed to help Hep C.
    Look for other places to back up anything here.

  • alGrande57 says:

    thank you

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