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HEPATITIS C

Hepatitis C is caused by Hepatitis C virus that affects the liver. Most of the patients suffering from hepatitis C are not treated because they are not aware of the infection for a very long period.

Symptoms

Hepatitis C does not have any particular symptoms accept mild flu that stays from few weeks. These symptoms are mistaken for other infection making the diagnosis further difficult. Usual symptoms of the virus are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, jaundice and fever up to 102 o F.

Causes

Although Hepatitis is not contagious, it can spread from one person to another through contact of blood of the infected person. Another way of transmission of the disease is through use of infected needles and syringe.

It does not spread through casual contact like sneezing, shaking hands, coughing, kissing, sharing utensils or drinking from the same glass. There are less chances of transmission through sexual contact or breast feeding.

Treatment

As the disease is not diagnosed at the early stages there is still no cure for the virus. However, long term medication for few months help the people to recover completely.

Anti viral medicines that are prescribed by the doctor to get rid of the virus. Prior a blood test is performed to study the severity of infection. This test helps the doctor to prescribe full course to the patient. Another test is performed after few weeks to know the effect of medications. If the medications are not effective the doctor might change the prescription.

One needs to avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs as they might increase stress on the liver.

To cure Hepatitis C shots of interferon and ribavirin pills are given. They do not target the virus, rather amp up the immune system to fight the virus.

Fact about hepatitis C

Most of the liver transplant surgery performed are due to the Hepatitis C virus because they remain undiagnosed leading to chronic infection.

Introduction of the new medicines

One need to realize that there are many genotypes of hepatitis C virus, type 1 being the most common. Hence not all medicine works on all the types. There are new drugs and each work differently on the virus. But they all clear the virus from the body, by interfering with the proteins in the body that is required by the virus to grow.

The period of treatment varies from patient to patient and depends on the how much cirrhosis the patient has.

New medicines are

  • Daclatasvir (Daklinza): Hepatitis C type 3 virus is treated without shots.
  • Elbasvir and grazoprevir (Zepatier): hepatitis C type 1, 4 and 6 virus and cirrhosis, HIV, kidney disease are treated with it.
  • Ledipasvir and sofosbuvir (Harvoni): this interferon free medicine is used to treat type 1 hepatitis virus
  • Ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir (Technivie): hepatitis C type 4 virus is treated with it.
  • Ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir, with dasabuvir (Viekira Pak): treatment of type 1 virus, liver scarring.
  • Simeprevir (Olysio)andsofosbuvir (Sovaldi): it is taken with interferon or ribavirin to treat type 1 hepatitis C virus.

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ADDRESS
Billroth Hospitals, 43,
Lakshmi Talkies Road,
Shenoy Nagar,
Chennai-30.
Tamil Nadu, India.

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