Combination Antiviral Therapy for Hepatitis C
What To Think About
You will need regular follow-up visits with a liver specialist during treatment. The specialist will order blood tests to check your liver enzyme levels and to see whether the virus is still present.
Peginterferon and other interferons may be given without ribavirin if you have anemia or heart or kidney problems.
People with normal or slightly elevated liver Reference enzyme Opens New Window levels but whose Reference liver biopsy Opens New Window shows little or no liver damage may choose not to have antiviral treatment. Instead, a doctor can monitor the condition with periodic Reference liver function tests and a liver biopsy every 3 to 5 years.
Even if the initial treatment does not eliminate the virus, your doctor may advise you to continue antiviral treatment, because it may reduce liver Reference inflammation Opens New Window. For some people with significant liver damage, antiviral therapy may slow the progression of liver damage or make Reference liver cancer less likely.Reference 5 If you already have Reference cirrhosis Opens New Window, some studies show that antiviral therapy can help you live longer.Reference 6
Only a few clinical trials have tested antiviral medicines in children. The results suggest that they work about as well in children as in adults. Combination therapy using interferon and ribavirin is now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in children ages 3 to 17 years.
If you are obese or have poorly controlled Reference diabetes Opens New Window, you may need to delay treatment until you get your weight or blood sugar under control.
If you have tried interferon in the past and did not get good results, talk to your doctor about newer combinations of peginterferon with ribavirin or the new Reference protease inhibitors for hepatitis C treatment.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Reference Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Pregnancy advice for women and men
If you need to take this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.
For women: Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: May 14, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology