Did you know the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there were nearly 68,000 new cases of acute hepatitis C in 2020 and over 107,000 newly reported cases of chronic hepatitis C?
To help you better understand how to manage this viral infection of the liver, here, experts reveal the most common treatments for hepatitis C — including antiviral medications, lifestyle changes and surgery — plus, how these treatment options work to manage the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Hepatitis C medication treatments
The CDC says that these hepatitis C medications have a 90 percent cure rate when taken for 8 to 12 weeks.
According to the Liver Foundation, antivirals are usually prescribed for chronic hepatitis C (which lasts 6 months or more), although they may also be used for acute (short-term) infections. They work by clearing the virus from your bloodstream and slowing down inflammation and scarring in your liver.
The Liver Foundation also suggests getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B if you have hepatitis C, to avoid the risk of a coinfection.
Non-medication hepatitis C treatments
“The number one thing to protect the liver in hepatitis C is to avoid alcohol. There is no safe amount of alcohol for someone with hepatitis,” Dr. Melissa Jenkins, chief of the division of infectious diseases at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio advises.
In addition, the Liver Foundation says to make sure you get plenty of fluids and rest and eat a healthy diet. Combining these strategies may often clear up an acute hepatitis C infection without medication.
It also recommends seeing your doctor regularly for blood tests to monitor your HCV levels.
Since sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia is one of the ways people get hepatitis C, Jenkins also suggests seeking help for