Hepatitis C - A Nasty Liver Virus
It is estimated that 170 million people worldwide are infected with the hepatitis C virus.
This month of March 2021, is the five-year anniversary of the introduction of curative drug treatments for the hepatitis C virus. These drugs known as direct-acting antivirals, have changed the course of history for hepatitis C sufferers bringing tremendous physical and emotional relief. We have come a long way with these drugs providing a 95% cure rate, but we cannot afford to get complacent.
It is vital that people are aware of the way hepatitis C can be transmitted, how easy it is to be tested for infection, and the importance to get early treatment.
Reduce the risk of hepatitis C transmission
- Never share or re-use injecting equipment such as needles, tourniquets, spoons, swabs, water or any other equipment. Ninety percent of new infections occur this way.
- Wash your hands in hot soapy water before and straight after injecting or use new alcohol swabs if you cannot do this.
- Dispose of sharps and injecting equipment in an approved disposal container (this is supplied by your needle and syringe program).
- Extra care should be taken when injecting occurs in groups, or when people are being assisted to inject by others.
- Label your syringe.
Treatment with direct-acting antiviral drugs is effective and safe and results in viral clearance from the body (known as a sustained virological response [SVR]) in the vast majority of patients. A SVR usually lasts a lifetime and produces a reduction of hepatitis C related liver diseases and risk of death. However, it is good not to get complacent, as after treatment with these drugs some patients may still have a major risk of progressive liver damage; this can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure and liver (hepatocellular) cancer. This is the result of ongoing chronic inflammation in the liver.
To reduce liver inflammation and the development of such severe liver diseases we recommend the following
- Keep your weight in the health range.
- Avoid excess alcohol.
- Avoid getting a fatty liver. See my book called Fatty Liver: You Can Reverse It.
- Avoid overuse of acetaminophen and other potentially liver toxic drugs.
Take natural anti-inflammatories for the liver such as Livatone Plus which contains Milk Thistle, selenium, activated B vitamins, antioxidants and N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC). It is recommended to take extra NAC twice daily. Livatone Plus is the most comprehensive liver formula available and has been tested in a clinical study of patients with liver inflammation caused by fatty liver.
Eradication of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Patients With Cirrhosis Reduces Risk of Liver and Non-Liver Complications. Nahon P, et al, Gastroenterology. 2017 Jan;152(1):142-156.e2. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2016.09.009. Epub 2016 Sep 15.PMID: 27641509
Results of Sofosbuvir Plus Ribavirin in Patients With Hepatitis C Related Decompensated Cirrhosis. Tmu N, et. Al, J Clin Exp Hepatol. 2019 Jan-Feb;9(1):4-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jceh.2018.02.009. Epub 2018 Mar 6.PMID: 30765933
American Gastroenterological Association Institute Clinical Practice Update-Expert Review: Care of Patients Who Have Achieved a Sustained Virologic Response After Antiviral Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C Infection. Jacobson IM, et. Al, Gastroenterology. 2017 May;152(6):1578-1587. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.03.018. Epub 2017 Mar 23.PMID: 28344022 Review.
Outcome of sustained virological responders with histologically advanced chronic hepatitis C. Morgan TR, et. Al, HALT-C Trial Group. Hepatology. 2010 Sep;52(3):833-44. doi: 10.1002/hep.23744.PMID: 20564351
Direct-acting antivirals for chronic hepatitis C. Jakobsen JC, et. Al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Sep 18;9(9):CD012143.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.