Alternative and Standard Treatment

Alternative and Standard Treatment for Hepatitis C

Alternative Treatments

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Hepatitis Foundation International states, Beware of Herbal treatments and other products sold as treatment or cures for Hepatitis C.

Herbal treatments and alternative liver medicines need to undergo rigorous scientific study before they can be recommended. “Natural” or diet treatments and herbal remedies can be quite dangerous and can actually harm your liver and accelerate damage. Always talk to your doctor before you take anything.

The Hepatitis Foundation International reports these are some of the plants that are toxic to the liver; plants of the Senecio, Crotalaria and Heliotopium families, plus Chaparral, Germander, Comfrey, Mistletoe, Skullcap, Margosa oil, Mate tea, Gordolobo yerba tea, Pennyroyal, and Jin Blu Huan are all toxic to the liver. (This list is not exclusive).

Standard Treatment for Chronic Hepatitis C

The goal of Hep C treatment is to cure the virus. Chronic Hepatitis C is treated with drugs to eliminate the virus from the body and prevent further liver damage.

To help determine which Hep C treatment is best suited for each patient will depend on genotype (genetic virus strain), viral load (RNA), liver condition, Hep C treatment history and tolerance, and overall health conditions.

Blood tests and physical exams will take place all throughout treatment and post treatment recovery. Viral load tests can take place as early as 2 to 4 weeks from beginning of treatment and continue through 12 weeks of completion of treatment.  Many physicians will continue to test patients to 24 weeks or longer post treatment.

When HCV is undetected in the blood for 12 weeks from when treatment has been completed, the patient has achieved what is known as SVR12 (sustained virologic response) and considered cured. Physicians normally continue to test patients till 24 weeks post treatment and many follow for longer periods.

Great Improvement in Treatment for Hep C

In 2011 the FDA approved the first generation of protease inhibitors to be used in triple therapy with standard combination treatment of Peginterferon and Ribavirn.  For the first time a cure to eliminate the Hep C virus was available. The cure rate was 70% using one of the two protease inhibitors in triple therapy with standard treatment time of 24 to 48 weeks and harsh side effects.

Since this short time, we have seen great improvement in treatment. A variety of new treatments have brought; new treatment options with and without use of Peginterferon and Ribavirin, treatment options for different genotypes, higher cure rates of 90% to 99%,  less treatment side effects and shorter treatment time to 8 to 12 weeks being the new standard. With certain genotypes and liver conditions, some treatments may be recommended to 24 weeks.

Clinical trial studies continue in progress with new treatments for a variety of genotypes and conditions.

If you have Chronic Hepatitis C, you should be tested to see which genotype that you have.(virus strain; 1a and 1b, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  and up to 11) Genotypes 1-6 have been more prevalent throughout different countries with 7-11 being predominant in specific countries, according the Clinical Microbiology Review.

Genotype describes the type of virus strain of Hep C. 75% of Hep C patients from the US have genotype 1 a or b. Genotypes 2, 3 and 4 are less common in the US. Certain genotypes are more prevalent in different countries.

References

American Liver Foundation/Support Guide for the Newly Diagnosed

Center for Disease Control & Prevention

Clinical Microbiology Review

UT Southwestern Clinical Center for Liver Disease

Hepatitis Foundation International

Mayo Clinic