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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Hepatitis C: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System

Hepatitis C

Alternate Names : Non-A, Non-B Hepatitis

Hepatitis C | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the disease?

Because many people with acute hepatitis C have no symptoms, it is not always possible to treat the disease in its early stages. For those individuals with symptoms, treatment may include the following:

  • bed rest
  • drinking extra fluids to prevent dehydration
  • avoiding unnecessary medications
  • avoiding alcohol
  • eating a well balanced diet for liver disease
  • taking antinausea medications as needed
  • The antiviral medication alpha interferon is often used to treat hepatitis C. Ribaviran can also be used, but can be difficult to use in combination with interferon. A person who has severe cirrhosis or liver cancer may be a candidate for a liver transplant.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Side effects will depend on the treatments used. Side effects of interferon include a flu-like illness, with fever and body aches. The combination of alpha interferon and ribaviran has aggravated hepatitis in some people.

    A liver transplant can cause many problems, including failure or rejection of the new liver. After a liver transplant, a person will need to take powerful antirejection medications for the rest of his or her life. Side effects of these medications increase the person's risk for infections, certain cancers, and other problems.

    What happens after treatment for the disease?

    During and after treatment, individuals with hepatitis C are monitored for their response to the therapy. Sometimes treatment must be discontinued because of side effects, even though the treatment has been effective. After treatment, individuals can have a reactivation of the virus, which can lead to a need for more treatment. After a liver transplant, the vast majority of people become reinfected with hepatitis C.

    How is the disease monitored?

    Periodic visits to the healthcare provider and liver function tests will be used to monitor the hepatitis and to see how the liver is working. The status of the liver may require repeated liver biopsies. Decisions for further treatment or liver transplantation are frequently made based on these tests. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Hepatitis C: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Thomas Fisher, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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