For the first time in years, there are more Hep C treatment options than ever to tailor to Hep C patient’s needs and receiving the cure from hepatitis C.

Dr. Joe Galati M.D., Hepatologist with Liver Specialists of Texas, talks about the new Hep C treatments with Sovaldi, Olysio, Harvoni and Viekira Pak. Treatment with these new hepatitis C therapies will vary based on the patient’s genotype, presence or absence of cirrhosis, and transplant status. Patients with HIV co-infection may also be treated.

Tremendous progress has been made since 2011 which brought the first generation of protease inhibitors and the first cure for hepatitis C with a 70% cure rate. Since this time new Hep C treatments have hit the scene bringing over 90% cure rate and higher for many of the new Hep C therapies.

Older Hep C treatment regimen was for 24 to 48 weeks. The new standard for Hep C treatment length is 12 weeks, with some Hep C patients who are eligible, treated in as little as 8 weeks.  With some genotypes and conditions, 24 weeks of treatment is still advised.
Advancement in Hep C treatment continues to climb as more clinical trials are in progress. On the horizon, we will see new Hep C treatments for a variety of genotypes as well as shorter treatment time and higher cure rates of higher than 97%.

Hep C patients and physicians are waiting with many questions, some of which are; when will new Hep C treatments be released, what side effects will they have, what is the cure rate and what will they cost?

All of these questions and more will mount as we wait further into 2015 and 2016 for new treatments to go through the process of evaluation from clinical trial to applying for FDA approval and awaiting review to release.

For Hep C patients who are waiting for treatment, time is precious. Many are being told by their insurance carriers they are not sick enough to receive treatment and will have to wait.
Many patients and physicians are pursuing appeals and winning. Many are receiving help through a variety of treatment assistant programs which the pharmaceutical companies offer directly through their support programs or through other resources.

Some Hep C patients may be waiting to pursue treatment due to they “don’t have any noticeable symptoms,” so they throw the thought of treating their Hep C on the back burner.
The problem with that theory is Hep C is known as the “silent killer.” Patients may choose to forget they have Hep C but Hep C is NOT forgetting them. Liver damage progresses over time. Hep C is still the number one reason for liver transplants with cirrhosis and liver cancer as stated by the American Liver Foundation.

Hep C patients have to be proactive in all areas of their healthcare. Hep C is treatable and beatable.

See more about Dr. Joe Galati M.D. at Liver Specialists of Texas texasliver.com
 

This entry was originally published on Life Beyond Hepatitis C February 10, 2015. It is reprinted with permission.