Drugs Prescribed for Hepatitis C
Being diagnosed with hepatitis C doesn’t always mean that you will need to take any drugs for the infection. In some cases, doctors find that their patients have only minor liver abnormalities, which means that they may not need to take any medication for their hepatitis C. However, this will only occur if doctors feel that the risk of future liver complications is minimal. In either case, your doctor could recommend some follow-up blood tests in order to keep an eye out for any potential liver problems.
Hepatitis C patients are prescribed antiviral medications which are designed to clear out the hepatitis C virus (HCV) from the patient’s body. Doctors may choose to prescribe a combination of medications which their patients will take over the course of several weeks. Once the course of hepatitis C drugs has been completed, the patient will come back in to have their blood tested for the presence of HCV. If doctors still find traces of the virus in the patient’s blood, they may decide to prescribe a second round of antiviral medication.
Antiviral medications are also used for treating people with chronic hepatitis C. Research has shown that these drugs can help to prevent the HCV from damaging the patient’s liver. Some patients may experience some side effects after taking antiviral medication. These drugs can reportedly cause dlu-like symptoms and depression. There are some cases where the side effects have been severe enough that treatment had to be halted.
Peginterferon and Ribavirin
Peginterferon can be prescribed to hepatitis C patients on its own, but ribavirin cannot treat this disease on its own. So, these two drugs are used in combination to treat hepatitis C. Ribavirin is currently sold under the brand name Rebetol or COPEGUS, while brand names for peginterferon include Peg-Intron and PEGASYS.
The combination therapy of peginterferon and ribavirin are still one of the more effective methods of combating the more severe cases of hepatitis C. These hepatitis C drugs are capable of killing the HCV within a patient’s body, while also helping to reinforce the patient’s immune system at the same time. If a patient’s immune system becomes stronger, their body will be better equipped to fight off the infection.
The human liver and other parts of the body naturally produce this substance which is known as alpha interferon. Researchers have found that this protein can be very beneficial to the human immune system, and alpha interferon can help the body fight off chronic infection, like hepatitis C.
So, scientists were able to create a synthetic version of this protein, and this interferon drug is now often prescribed to people with hepatitis C. With the most recent version of this synthetic interferon, the hepatitis C drug has a longer range of effectiveness, and that means that patients only need to inject it once per week. Studies have shown that this longer lasting version is more effective against this virus.
Some of the patients who take these hepatitis C drugs may experience some side effects over the course of their treatment. However, this does not necessarily mean that the medication is not helping to get rid of the virus. If you do experience any side effects, talk to your doctor before you decide to discontinue your drug regimen. A viral RNA test can help doctors assess if your treatment is working.
Do You Qualify for Our Hepatitis C Clinical Trial?