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Viral Hepatitis

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Alternative Therapies--Safety

for Veterans and the Public

Are they safe?

Generally, physical and relaxation therapies are safe. However, some complementary medicines ("mega" vitamins, herbs, and other supplements) can be dangerous for people who have liver disease. Always talk to your VA health care provider before you take any herb, supplement, or megavitamin, even if you think it is safe.

Cautions to keep in mind:
  • There is no complementary treatment that has yet been proven safe and effective for treating or curing hepatitis C.
  • There are no herbal treatments which have been proven to reduce the hepatitis C viral load.
  • Just because something is "natural" (an herb, for example) doesn't mean that it is safe to take. Sometimes these products can hurt your liver instead of help it, or they might interfere with the medicines you are taking for hepatitis C.
  • Certain herbs, supplements, and "mega" vitamins can be very dangerous for people with hepatitis C. Your liver plays an important role in breaking down these substances after you take them into your body. If your liver is sick, many herbs, supplements, and megavitamins can hurt it even more.
  • Be careful of treatments that claim to be "miracle cures"--ones that claim to cure hepatitis C. Certain people may try to trick you into buying an expensive product that doesn't work.
  • Complementary therapies are not substitutes for the treatment and medications you receive from your VA doctor. You shouldn't stop taking your hepatitis C drugs just because you've started another therapy.
  • Many herbs and supplements and complementary therapies come from different parts of the world and thus, there are often differences in the regulation and labeling of these products. This might mean that two herbal products may have very different ingredients and quality.