Hepatitis C does not always necessitate treatment given that some patients’ immune system can eliminate the infection, and in some with chronic hepatitis C, the infection does not result in liver damage. When a patient requires treatment, the aim of treatment is to cure the infection. The success of treatment is primarily dependent on factors such as the genotype of the infection and the treatment method.
The standard approach to hepatitis C treatment is evolving at a fast rate. According to established, universal treatment guidelines, the most commonly used treatment protocols include the direct-acting antivirals such as , daclatasvir, and a combination of and ledipasvir, and these DAAs cure the infection 95% of the time. These antivirals are much safer, more potent, and cause much fewer side effects than older medications.
Hep C treatment with direct-acting antivirals is able to cure hepatitis C in most individuals within a much shorter duration, typically over the course of 12 weeks. Many organizations are now also revising their guidelines to add information pertaining to pan-genotypic direct-acting antiviral protocols and simplified lab screening.
In the meantime, these new medications have eliminated the need for a regimen of pegylated and ribavirin in many cases. Despite a low production cost, however, direct-acting antivirals are still quite costly in many developed nations. That said, their prices have gone down considerably in certain countries with the rollout of their generic counterparts.
Availability of HCV treatment is gradually increasing but remains suboptimal. According to WHO, 14 million out of the 71 million individuals with hepatitis C in the world were aware of their status in 2015. Only a little over 1 million of those patients began treatment that same year. 1.8 million more could get treatment in 2016, bringing the total to just under 3 million worldwide. There is still a long way to go to reach the goal to cover 80% of the infected population with curative treatment by 2030.
For more in-depth information, you can download a copy of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for the screening, care, and treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis C infection.
Featured Image: Depositphotos/© photousvp77Posted on May 5, 2023