for Veterans and the Public
Treatments for hepatitis C are aimed at doing 3 things:
- removing (or clearing) all the hepatitis C virus from your body
- stopping or slowing down the damage to your liver
- making you feel better
Right now, there are four drugs for hepatitis C that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: pegylated interferon and ribavirin (used as a two-drug combination) and, for certain patients, the addition of either boceprevir or telaprevir (for a three-drug combination). (Read more on hepatitis C medications.)
One of the most important decisions you and your doctor will make is whether to begin drug treatment, and, if so, when to start it. Treatment does not have to start right away. The disease usually progresses slowly, with slowly increasing scarring to the liver over many years, from 10 to 40 years or more. Taking pegylated interferon and ribavirin can be stressful. The treatment can cause serious side effects, such as fatigue, depression, and nausea. For some people, the best course of action is "watchful waiting," instead of starting drug treatment right away.