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Making Sense of Research and Medical Literature
A newspaper headline states, “New Treatment Discovered for Hepatitis C.” An Internet site claims “more patients responded to drug A than drug B.” Your doctor prescribes a new medication for you and there are nearly 50 side effects listed for it. You attend a hepatitis C conference and each drug company tells you why their drug is better – all backed by research. How do you know what is true? More specifically, what is true for you?
Preparing for Treatment
Treatment of hepatitis C has made great advances from the early days. Back when interferon was first approved, the cure rates were about 10%. The list of just the most common side effects could take up an entire page. Now, we have medications that can cure 90 to 100% of patients who undergo therapy, and the newer treatments are much easier to tolerate. This guide discusses what it takes to prepare for treatment.
Next Steps: When Treatment Isn’t Working
The standard treatment for HCV infection is antiviral therapy, currently a combination of two or three medications. The primary goal of antiviral therapy is to eliminate HCV from the body. Unfortunately, complete and permanent eradication of HCV is not guaranteed. Approximately 5 to 20% of patients who are treated with currently available medications will remain infected with HCV.