Schedule: Monday - Thursday: 8:00a - 5:00p  |  Friday: 8:00a - 2:00p

Hepatitis C Clinic in Concord, NC

What is Hepatitis C Treatment?

Hepatitis C treatment involves the use of antiviral medications to eliminate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) from the body and prevent further liver damage. The goal of treatment is to achieve sustained virologic response (SVR), which means that the virus is no longer detectable in the blood six months after completing treatment.

When is a Hepatitis C Treatment Needed

Hepatitis C treatment in North Carolina is typically recommended in the following situations:

  • Chronic Hepatitis C Infection: Treatment is often considered for individuals with chronic hepatitis C infection, as opposed to acute infection. Chronic infection occurs when the hepatitis C virus (HCV) persists in the body for six months or longer.
  • Evidence of Liver Damage: Treatment is usually recommended when there is evidence of liver damage, as indicated by elevated liver enzyme levels or the presence of liver fibrosis or cirrhosis. The degree of liver damage is assessed through various diagnostic tests, such as liver biopsy, elastography, or non-invasive imaging studies.
  • HCV Genotype: The choice and duration of treatment may depend on the specific HCV genotype. Different genotypes of HCV respond differently to treatment, and some may require specific antiviral medications.
  • Presence of Co-existing Conditions: The presence of certain co-existing conditions, such as HIV coinfection, may influence the decision to initiate treatment and the choice of antiviral medications.
  • Risk of Complications: Individuals at an increased risk of complications, such as the development of liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), may be candidates for treatment to reduce these risks.

It's important to note that treatment decisions are individualized, and not everyone with chronic hepatitis C infection may require immediate treatment. Healthcare providers typically decide to initiate treatment based on a thorough assessment of the patient's medical history, liver function, HCV genotype, and other relevant factors.

What to Expect

The treatment of hepatitis C is a multidisciplinary effort that requires the expertise of various healthcare professionals. The first step in the treatment process is to identify the virus's strain and determine its resistance level to available medications. This information is used to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual patient.

The goal of hepatitis C treatment is to cure the infection and prevent any long-term damage to the liver. Several different medications can be used for this purpose, and the treatment plan will likely include more than one medication. The most common approach is to use a combination of antiviral drugs called "direct-acting antivirals" or DAAs. These drugs attack the virus directly and can cure more than 90% of patients who take them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is Hepatitis C treatment?

Treatment time can run from 2-12 months in duration. Once you have begun treatment, you are closely monitored with office visits, periodic lab testing, and treatment adjustments according to your response to therapy.

How successful is treatment for Hepatitis C?

Success rates for Hepatitis C treatment exceed 90% for most patients, and the treatment is generally well tolerated.
Our Hepatitis C treatment clinic is structured to support you and to ensure you complete treatment and are cured of your Hepatitis C. You will need testing 12 weeks after you have completed treatment to determine if you have been cured and no longer have Hepatitis C.

What can you expect during your visit?

During initial visits to the Hepatitis C clinic, you will learn about the Hepatitis C virus, routes of transmission, the most current treatments for Hepatitis C, and potential treatment options customized to your specific situation. Most patients with Hepatitis C are asymptomatic and have had the disease for up to 20 years before diagnosis.
We perform an in-depth screening interview to determine your suitability for treatment by reviewing your overall medical condition, the medications you are currently taking (please bring a comprehensive list of all medications prescribed, OTC, and supplements to your visit), the condition of your liver, and your lifestyle to determine if or when treatment will be offered.
Lastly, we will undertake a pre-treatment work-up which may include x-rays, lab work, liver biopsy, eye exam, vaccinations against other types of Viral Hepatitis, and a depression & fatigue evaluation. It may take up to 6-8 weeks for treatment to be approved once you are felt to be an appropriate candidate for therapy.
To learn more about Hepatitis C, check out our comprehensive Hepatitis C condition page.

Is hepatitis C contagious after treatment?

Hepatitis C is not contagious after successful treatment, as the virus is no longer present in the bloodstream. Effective treatment eliminates the virus from the body, reducing the risk of transmission to others. However, precautions should still be taken to prevent further exposure to the virus.

Can hepatitis C come back after treatment?

While rare, hepatitis C can come back after treatment if a person is re-exposed to the virus or if the initial treatment was not successful in clearing the infection completely. Keep in mind that success rates for hepatitis C treatment are over 90%. However, regular monitoring is essential to detect a reinfection, which can be treated.

Does the hepatitis C antibody remain positive after treatment?

In most cases, the hepatitis C antibody remains positive after treatment, as it indicates exposure to the virus in the past. However, a positive antibody test does not necessarily mean that the virus is still present in your body. A viral load test (HCV RNA quantitative test) is needed to confirm if the virus has been cleared after treatment.

How long can you live with hepatitis C without treatment?

Without treatment, individuals with hepatitis C can live for decades, but the risk of liver damage and complications increases over time. The progression of liver disease varies among individuals, with some experiencing relatively mild symptoms while others may develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. It's crucial to seek medical assitance as early as possible to prevent liver deterioration.

What are the potential side effects of hepatitis C treatment?

Potential side effects of hepatitis C treatment may include fatigue, headache, nausea, and flu-like symptoms. In some cases, more severe side effects such as anemia, depression, or skin rash may occur, although these are less common. It's important to discuss any side effects with your healthcare provider, as they can often be managed or mitigated with adjustments to the treatment regimen.

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Contact Info

Northeast Digestive Health Center
1070 Vinehaven Drive NE
Concord, North Carolina 28025
Phone: (704)783-1840
Fax: (704)783-1850
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