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Hepatitis C

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Hepatitis is caused by inflammation in the liver.  This inflammation leads to soreness and swelling, placing patients in an uncomfortable condition. Hepatitis can result from low blood supply to the liver, poison, liver injury, or medicines. The most common cause is through viral infection.

There are 2 types of hepatitis, acute hepatitis and chronic hepatitis.  A patient affected by hepatitis can have an inflamed liver.  This is known as acute hepatitis and patients may also experience vomiting, fever, body aches, and nausea. If the inflammation does not go away within a few or few weeks, the patient may have chronic hepatitis.

Hepatitis C is generally caused by contact with blood products, this includes touching a used and unclean needle. Most patients do not feel sick with hepatitis C, but the virus can cause chronic liver inflammation.

Treatments

Direct contact with an infected person can spread hepatitis C. Avoid sharing personal instruments such as razors and toothbrushes.  If you are affected, eat a healthy diet and begin a regular exercise routine.  Talk to the doctor about medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications. Some medicines that contain acetaminophen can cause accelerated liver damage.

There are no vaccines for hepatitis C, the doctor may have you take the vaccine for hepatitis B. Good health habits are important for managing your condition, this includes avoiding alcohol or other medications that can harm the liver. Standard medicines include:

  • Harvoni
  • Viekira

Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir) is an active antiviral agent that treats chronic hepatitis C infections in adults. Patients may experience the following side effects: headache, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and insomnia. It is a two-drug combination that contains 90 mg of ledipasvir and 400 mg of sofosbuvir in one tablet. The recommended dosage includes one tablet daily and can be taken with food. Your doctor should be notified of whether you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant before using the medication.

Viekira Pak can treat patients experiencing chronic hepatitis C virus infection. It contains three drugs – ombitasvir, paritaprevir and dasabuvir – to limit the growth of HCV. Ritonavir is also an active drug that increases the blood levels of paritaprevir. Ribavirin is not recommended for patients with a liver that is functioning below optimal levels. The recommended dosage is two ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir 12.5 mg/75 mg/50 mg tablets once daily and one dasabuvir 250 mg tablet twice daily.

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