Hep C treatment
Hep C is treatable and curable for the majority of patients
Choosing to start hepatitis C treatment is not always an easy decision. There are many factors that will affect your choice, such as how you’re feeling right now, the treatments available and the impact of any side effects on day-to-day living, relationships or work.
Recent advances in medicines for hepatitis C mean for many patients they work better than before, treatment times are shorter and the drugs are better tolerated, therefore easier on the body.
With many different treatments now available on the NHS the vast majority of people now have the chance to be cured.
You’ll need to speak with your doctor about your type of hepatitis C, to find which options are right for you.
Why get hepatitis C treatment?
Hepatitis C treatment has the potential to cure people of the virus. Today the chance of achieving that cure is better than ever before for most patients. However each person’s reasons for getting treated will be different.
The benefits of having hep C treatment may mean you:
- Experience fewer symptoms and enjoy feeling better in your general health
- Live free from the worry of developing serious complications such as liver disease or liver cancer
- Get relief from mental stress that can trigger anxiety and/or depression
- Get rid of the fear of transmitting hep C to others. This fear may also be affecting your loved ones who are anxious about getting infected
- Have no further worry about whether to tell people about your hep C status
Helping yourself will also help others – those you love, and by reducing the level of infection in the community – the NHS has recognised it’s important to do this and wants to help you. See Your Right to Treatment and Care for more information.
Hepatitis C treatments available
A growing understanding of how the hep C virus works has led to the development of newer medicines for hep C.
These medicines have now been reviewed by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the national body that looks at new treatments and provides guidance to the NHS on what drugs should be made available for patients.
What this means for you is that if a medicine is recommended by NICE, patients in England are legally entitled to be treated with it and funding is compulsory. However, all treatment decisions are based on the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with healthcare professionals, the patient and/or guardian or carer.
Several new hep C medicines have been recommended by NICE to be made available to some degree on the NHS. As hep C is a complex disease, with many stages and different types, not all these treatments are available or suitable for all patients.
The effectiveness of treatments available on the NHS varies depending on the genotype of the virus but some treatment success rates can be more than 90%.1
If you have hep C and want to know what your options for treatment are, speak with a specialist doctor who will be able to provide expert advice on what care and treatment is right for you.
Side effects of hep C treatment
Management of side effects has improved over the years as has hep C treatment.
Different medicines have different potential side effects. As everyone’s experience will be different, your specialist doctor will be best placed to talk to you about your individual situation to help make a decision about what’s right for you.
See here for more info on hep C treatment.
Source: 1NHS Choices. Treatment. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hepatitis-C/Pages/Treatment.aspx [date accessed: Oct 2017]