Hep C Cure: Can You Cure Hepatitis C Once and for All?
‘Is there a hep c cure?’ is the most common question a person asks after being diagnosed with this dangerous viral disease. Answering it can be a bit tricky, because there is an acknowledged hep C cure available today. However, the maximum success rate for the treatment is 99%.
You also need to take into account the HCV virus genotype as the level of the virus’s ‘curability’ heavily depends on its genotype. Other factors, such as the length of exposure to the infection, complications, other health conditions, HCV consequences, medications, etc. also affect the results of a hepatitis C treatment course.
In order to increase your chances of curing hepatitis C, you need to:
- Get diagnosed as early as possible.
- Follow the doctor’s treatment program.
- Make a variety of lifestyle changes.
- Prevent re-occurrence of the infection.
Hep C Cure Types: History of Medications
The road to the development of an effective hepatitis C cure was quite lengthy. Before 2011 the vast majority of hep C treatments were based on two drugs:
- PEGylated interferon.
This is the first major breakthrough in the treatment of HCV. Interferon is an element similar to the protein that forces your body to fight infections, and the PEGylated form of it makes the effect long-acting. Interferon-based treatments are popular even today, though mostly in developing countries because now there are safer and more effective alternatives available.
The biggest problem with this drug is that despite showing a success rate of between 40 and 80%, it has a large number of serious side effects. The most common of them are persistent flu-like symptoms (experienced by about 50% of the patients) and varied emotional problems (affecting about 1/3 of the patients).
- Since its invention, ribavirin has become an essential addition to the PEGylated interferon treatment of hepatitis C. In fact, it can never be used alone to treat this particular disease. Even today, it’s combined with other anti-viral medications. The adverse effects of this drug include embryocidal defects, hemolytic anemia, emotional problems, headaches, nausea, and a variety of other issues.
In May 2011 the FDA approved two other hepatitis C medications. They were both more effective than the interferon-based treatments and much safer for the patient. These drugs are pro-tease inhibitors that aim to stop the virus from further development. Therefore, their efficiency is the highest when taken early. They are:
- Telaprevir (INCIVEK)
- Boceprevir (VICTRELIS)
To achieve the best results, these drugs need to be combined with the PEGylated interferon therapy. Like ribavirin, they cannot be used on their own.
In 2013, the first once-daily pro-tease inhibitor was approved by the FDA. Simeprevir (OLYSIO) was initially combined with the traditional interferon-based therapy. However, in December 2013 the FDA also approved sofosbuvir (SOVALDI) and the two drugs were combined to create the most effective Hepatitis C genotype 1 treatment of that time.
Sofosbuvir was a huge leap on the road to developing an effective hep C cure. It was the first oral medication that blocked polymerase. In essence, this drug prevents the hepatitis C virus from growing by removing its access to the necessary protein.
Aside from being more effective and safe, sofosbuvir was also more convenient as this is a pill you need to take only once a day. It was approved for the treatment of hep C genotypes 1 through 4. This particular drug was the first interferon-free option for patients suffering from hepatitis C genotype 2 and 3. For this purpose, it had to be combined with ribavirin. It was also the first drug approved for the treatment of patients with HIV-HCV co-infection.
In 2014 Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir is the generic name) was approved by the FDA for treating HCV genotype 1a and 1b. Since then it has become the most popular and efficient hep C cure in the world. The ledipasvir and sofosbuvir drug can effectively stop the infection and shows up to 99% success rate. In 2015, the FDA has also approved it for the treatment of HCV genotype 4, 5, and 6. In these cases, Harvoni is used in conjunction with other anti-viral drugs. However, it increases the efficiency of the treatment significantly.
Hep C Prevention: Is There a Hepatitis C Vaccine?
While there is a highly effective hep C cure, and scientists are restlessly working on improving it, there is no vaccine for HCV. This means that there is no way to prevent this disease with a truly high level of certainty. Therefore, you can only rely on various prevention methods.
- Never sharing needles or other equipment that might be contaminated with someone else’s blood. HCV is a blood-borne virus, so it’s essential to avoid any contact with the blood of any potentially infected person.
- Follow the healthcare safety guidelines to the latter if you work with HCV positive patients.
- Avoid using any non-sanitized tools that could have been contaminated with infected blood.
Please remember that it’s not only health care workers and partners and family of the patients who run the risk of contracting the disease. Manicuring and body modification tools might also be contaminated. Therefore, ensure that the salon where you receive these services uses only sterile equipment.
To What Extent Can Hepatitis C Be Cured?
It’s essential to know what is hepatitis C in order to understand exactly why the ‘curability’ of this disease is such a complicated subject. The virus itself can be cured with a success rate of almost 100%, especially its most common type, genotype 1.
However, as the hepatitis C symptoms may not appear at all or not be noticed for extended periods of time, the damage the virus does to your body might be impossible to repair. There are a great number of factors that affect how exactly your liver and immune system would react to the disease.
In general, the longer you are exposed to the virus, the more damage it deals. Some types of hepatitis C medications can restore some of it. Additional therapy and targeted treatments might improve the results.
If the damage to the liver cells is extensive, a patient may develop cirrhosis (liver scarring). This is a potentially fatal condition that requires specialized treatment. Many patients with cirrhosis require transplants to prevent liver failure.
Removing the HCV virus from your body early will reduce the risk of developing a great number of dangerous health conditions caused by this infection. This is the reason why hepatitis C screening is so important. If you are at risk of developing the disease or start showing any of the symptoms, take a test and consult a doctor immediately.
Can I Contract Hepatitis C Again after Being Cured?
Yes, you can. No matter how effective the current hep C cure is, it doesn’t give you an immunity. If you continue to expose yourself to the risks of HCV transmission, you can contract the virus again.
In this case, the chance of getting a more dangerous HCV genotype is very high. Therefore, the treatment would be more complicated. The damage to the liver cells will increase greatly, especially if the infection isn’t diagnosed quickly.
At the moment, researchers are working on developing a hepatitis C treatment program that allows to ‘replace’ the HCV virus genotype. This should make defeating the infection easier as the current #1 hep C cure works with the most success for genotype 1. However, this therapy has yet to gain widespread official approval.
Can Hepatitis C Return on Its Own?
Although rare, there are cases of HCV relapse. A doctor will measure your sustained virologic response (SVR) and the results will determine whether your hepatitis C is cured. You achieve SVR if you go more than 6 months without any detectable viral load in your tests.
Note that regular tests during and post treatment are mandatory. Your doctor may prescribe another course of anti-viral medications based on your hepatitis C antibodies test results at any time. Usually, achieving SVR means that you’ve successfully defeated the infection.
Unfortunately, in 1-2% of cases, the relapse may occur after hitting the six-months benchmark. The ability of the HCV virus to ‘hide and bide its time’ is truly remarkable. This is the reason why it’s usually required for the patient to take regular blood tests up to a year after the treatment. A relapse after this time is extremely rare.
Statistically, 8 out of 10 HCV positive people who develop a chronic infection stay infected for life. This condition isn’t life-threatening in itself and a person suffering from it can enjoy living a full life. The risk of infecting your family and friends can be reduced drastically by following simple hygiene and safety rules.
In some cases, patients don’t develop any symptoms of the condition and the rate of liver damage is low. There are also situations when the benefits of curing hep C aren’t enough to outweigh the risks. Remember that all hepatitis C medications can produce negative side effects.
With the better types of hepatitis C medications under development, it’s possible that the number of people who can cure this disease permanently will increase in the near future.
Natural and Holistic Hep C Cures
There isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove that various natural herbal supplements and remedies can cure hepatitis C. It’s essential to understand that these products might, in fact, present a certain risk to the patient’s health. They might react badly when combined with other medicines.
Always inform your doctor about any supplements (herbal or otherwise) you take, regardless of their purpose. If you want to attempt incorporating some herbs and extracts in your hep C therapy, your condition must be closely monitored.
You can increase your chances of successful recovery from hepatitis C by making generally healthier life choices. A healthy diet and light exercise would be particularly beneficial for all patients. If you suffer from any other health conditions, get advice from your health care provider as well as professional nutritionist and fitness trainer. These specialists will help you work out a workout routine and meal plan that would suit your personal needs perfectly.
Over 80% of HCV positive patients suffering from alcoholism develop cirrhosis. If you want to avoid this dangerous disease, it’s imperative to combat this addiction. The same goes for drugs as over 62% of hepatitis C patients in the US and Canada contract the disease through intravenous drug use.
Please note that some health care insurance policies may have not using drugs as a mandatory stipulation for covering hepatitis C treatment. You’ll need to discuss this matter with your insurance provider.
Note that fighting an addition can exacerbate some of the hepatitis symptoms (emotional instability, anxiety, etc.). The patient may require both clinical observation and counseling during this time. The treatment itself might be postponed until your body regains the strength and stability necessary for fighting the infection.
Hep C Cure Cost and Other Considerations
Now that the question “Is there a hep c cure?” finally has a positive answer, people suffering from this disease face a different challenge. The cost of this hepatitis cure is extremely high. Harvoni (sofosbuvir/ledipasvir) costs about $90,000 per a 12-week course. Bear in mind that in some cases one needs to take this hepatitis medication for 24 weeks. You also need to calculate the cost of additional drugs.
Sofosbuvir alone costs over $80,000 per course, and it also requires other medications, tests, doctor, visits, and other medical expenses. Hepatitis C treatment is usually covered by health care insurance policies and Medicaid, but there might be extenuating circumstances that will prevent a person from paying for the treatment.
The extremely high cost of the cure for hepatitis C caused a lot of controversy, which eventually led Gilead Sciences to enter licensing deals with other pharmaceutical companies to produce an affordable generic alternative to sofosbuvir and ledipasvir.
This generic hep C cure starts at only $699 per 12 week course and is available to residents of The USA and other countries here at helpforhepc.com on our Shop page.
Contact us to learn more about it anytime and place your order for an affordable new hep C drug!