Hepatitis C is a serious liver infection that is caused by a virus. When a person has Hepatitis C, their liver becomes inflamed, and its ability to process waste products is negatively impacted. That leads to the accumulation of waste within the blood and bodily tissues. A wide range of negative effects can follow, including damage to the brain, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and other tissues. Hepatitis C is spread through contact with the blood of someone who has the virus, and many people who are infected are unaware that they have the disease for a long period. Fortunately, researchers have developed several treatments for the disease, and patients are far more empowered to find treatment options that will allow them to live normal, healthy lives. Among the most common hepatitis C treatments are the following antiviral drugs:
Top 4 Hepatitis C Treatments
- Viekira XR
Epclusa is a newly approved combination medicine used to treat all viral forms of hepatitis, including types 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. This medication is delivered in a single tablet, and does not require additional ribavirin supplementation. Patients take Eplclusa once a day for a period of 12 weeks. Those who have cirrhosis of the liver may be given a dose of ribavirin as well. Side effects include headache and fatigue, and it is important to note that this medication can cause problems when taken with other drugs. It is important to ensure that your physician is aware of all prescription medications currently or recently taken, to prevent a negative drug interaction.
- Ability to treat all six of the major types of hepatitis
- Elimination of the need for ribavirin
- No need for genetic testing to determine the viral type
Zepatier is another combination drug used to treat Hepatitis C. It is a once daily regimen that can be prescribed for use either with or without ribavirin. Zepatier is appropriate for patients regardless of whether they have received previous hepatitis treatment, although it is not fit for those with moderate or severe liver disease. Zepatier is prescribed for a period of 12 weeks, although some patients can take the drug for up to 16 weeks. Side effects include headache, fatigue and nausea, and it is important to take care to avoid negative interactions with other medications.
- Lower cost to patients
- Fewer side effects than many other options
- Effective for treating patients who have already tried other treatment options
Viekira XR is an updated formulation of the drug known as Viekira PAK, and delivers the active ingredients in a once daily oral medication. The extended release formulation consists of three separate tablets that must be taken with a meal. While not a good option for people with decompensated cirrhosis of the liver, Viekira XR has shown to be a promising drug therapy option for many people.
- Excellent results in clinical trials
- Lower risk of side effects
- A 95-100 percent cure rate
Harvoni is a combination medication that includes a hepatitis C viral inhibitor and a polymerase inhibitor. The drug is taken in a fixed dose, and is prescribed for a period of 12 weeks. Patients who have tried other treatment options and who have cirrhosis of the liver may take Harvoni in combination with ribavirin for up to 24 weeks.
- Available in a generic form
- Lower cost to patients
- One pill per day dosage
Left untreated, Hepatitis C is a disease that can lead to multiple negative outcomes, including damage to the brain, joints, bones and blood vessels, as well as a complete shutdown of the liver. Fortunately, researchers have developed effective drug treatment options for this serious disease, including the four drugs outlined above. Patients can find the treatment plan that works best for their set of circumstances, and can live long and healthy lives through effective drug therapy.