What Is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver disease that has symptoms that are similar to both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. It is contagious. A lot of infected people experience no symptoms and the disease ranges in severity from a mild sickness lasting a few weeks to a life-long, chronic illness.
Hepatitis C is caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). It spreads from person to person when infected blood comes into contacted with somebody who is not infected. There are two different designations that describe how seriously somebody is infected with Hepatitis C: an acuted Hepatitis C infection and a chronic Hepatitis C infection.
Acute Hepatitis C infections are short term sicknesses that occur within the first six months of somebody contracting the disease. The majority of people who suffer from an acute Hepatitis C infection will develop a chronic Hepatitis C infection. A chronic Hepatitis C infection is a long term sickness that people come down with when the Hepatitis C virus remains in their bodies. It can last until death and cause severe liver problems, including scarring, which is known as cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Up to 85% of people who become infected with the Hepatitis C virus will develop a chronic infection.
Is It Possible To Treat Acute Hepatitis C?
Treatment for acute Hepatitis C is available. There is debate in the medical community over when the best time to start start treatment is. Around 25% of people will fight off the disease on their own, with no treatment at all. Receiving treatment while the disease is in the acute stage can stop it from turning into a chronic infection. The two drugs that can effectively treat acute Hepatitis C infections are elbasvir and grazoprevir.
Is It Possible To Treat Chronic Hepatitis C?
There are numerous drugs that the FDA has approved for treating chronic Hepatitis C infections. These drugs will be listed by their generic names, followed by brand name in parentheses: ribavirin (CoPegus), daclatasvir (Daklinza), sofosbuvir, velpatasvir (Epclusa), ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (Harvoni), telaprevir (Incivek), interferon aphacon-1 (Infergen), interferon alpha-2b (Intron A), simeprevir (Olysio), pegylated interferon (Pegasys), pegylated interferon alpha-2b (Pegintron), ribavirin (Rebetol), interferon alpha-2a (Roferon), sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir (Technivie), boceprevir (Victrelis), ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir tablets co-packaged with dasabuvir tablets (Viekira Pak), and elbasvir, grazoprevir (Zepatier).
These drugs have been shown to be effective and are prescribed based on what complications any given patient is dealing with. In general, they have far fewer side effects than medications that were available in past decades.
Can You Get Over Hepatitis C?
Certainly. A minority of people, up to 25%, clear the virus without needing any medication at all. The medical community is uncertain over how these people are able to fight off the disease.
Additionally, with the introduction of newer drugs, as of 2016, it appears that people can be cured of the disease at this point. The most effective drug cocktail for fully curing people is a combination of elbasvir and grazoprevir.
Is There A Hepatitis C Vaccine??
No. Not yet. There are vaccines available for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. There is not one available for Hepatitis C. Research is underway, and it is believed that a vaccine will be developed in the future.