Stages of Hepatitis C:
Incubation period: It is time between first exposure to the start of the disease. It can last anywhere from 14 to 80 days, but the average is 45 days.
Acute hepatitis C: It is a short-term illness that lasts for the first 6 months once the virus enters the body. After that, some people who have it will get rid of, or clear, the virus on their own.
Chronic hepatitis C: If your body doesn’t clear the virus on its own after 6 months, it becomes a long-term infection. This can lead to serious health problems like liver cancer or cirrhosis
Cirrhosis: This disease leads to inflammation that, over time, replaces your healthy liver cells with scar tissue. It usually takes about 20 to 30 years for this to happen, though it can be faster if you drink alcohol or have HIV
Liver cancer: Cirrhosis makes liver cancer more likely. Your doctor will make sure you get regular screenings because there are usually no symptoms in the early stages
Symptoms of Hepatitis C: (symptoms usually lasts for 2 to 12 weeks)
- Jaundice (yellow colored eyes and skin)
- Clay colored stool
- Dark colored urine
- Joint pain
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms of Advanced Hepatitis C
- Esophageal varices (vomiting blood due to bleeding in lower esophagus)
- Kidney failure
- Ascites (fluid buildup in abdomen)
- Leg edema (fluid buildup in abdomen)
- Muscle loss
- Intensive itching
- Memory loss
Management for Hepatitis C**
there is no recommended treatment for acute Hepatitis C but there are several medication options available for chronic Hepatitis C.
In early days, Interferon, peginterferon, and ribavirin were used to be the main treatments for hepatitis C. But hepatitis C treatments have changed a lot in recent years. Now you’re more likely to get one of these medications:
- Daclatasvir (Daklinza): A protease (NS5A) inhibitor that works by stopping the virus from replicating.
You’ll take this pill once a day along with sofosbuvir for 12 weeks.
- Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir (Epclusa): Sofosbuvir is a Nucleotide/nucleoside and nonnucleoside polymerase inhibitor (NS5B inhibitors) which blocks the protein that is required by virus to replicate. Velpatasvir is a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) works by attacking the virus directly.
This daily pill, which you take for 12 weeks, should cure your disease.
- Ledipasvir-sofosbuvir (Harvoni): Ledipasvir is another protease (NS5A) inhibitor that works by stopping the virus from replicating. (information about Sofosbuvir is given above)
This once-daily pill cures the disease in most people in 8-12 weeks.
- Glecaprevir and pibrentasvir (Mavyret): Gelcaprevir is another protease (NS3/4A) inhibitor whereas pibrentasvir is a NS5A inhibitor that works by stopping the virus from replicating.
This daily pill offers a shorter treatment cycle of 8 weeks for adult patients with all types of HCV who don’t have cirrhosis and who haven’t already been treated. The treatment is longer for those who are in a different disease stage. The prescribed dosage for this medicine is 3 tablets daily.
- Ribavirin (Copegus, Moderiba, Rebetol, Ribasphere, Virazole): Ribavirin is a guanosine analog that stops the synthesis/production of virus.
This comes as a tablet, capsule, or liquid. You take it with food twice a day, in the morning and evening, for 24 to 48 weeks or longer.
- Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) with interferon and ribavirin: Interferon is a protein that your body makes. It helps your immune system fight viruses, including HCV. (information about Sofosbuvir and Ribavirin is given above)
Take this tablet at the same time every day with food. You have to take it along with ribavirin and/or interferon, and you’ll probably be on it for 12 to 24 weeks.
- Ombitasvir-paritaprevir- ritonavir (Technivie): Paritaprevir is another protease (NS3/4A) inhibitor whereas Ombitasvir is a NS5A inhibitor that works by stopping the virus from replicating.
You’ll take this tablet by mouth, possibly along with ribavirin.
- Ombitasvir-paritaprevir-dasabuvir-ritonavir (Viekira Pack): Information about all these drugs is already given above.
This treatment is a combination of pills: two that you’ll take once a day, and one you’ll take twice with meals. You’ll take it for 12 to 24 weeks.
- Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir-voxilaprevir (Vosevi): Voxilaprevir is another protease (NS3/4A) inhibitor whereas Velpatasavir is a NS5A inhibitor that works by stopping the virus from replicating. (information about Sofosbuvir is already described above)
This combination is approved to treat adults with chronic HCV, either with no cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis (the stage of the disease that doesn’t have symptoms), who’ve already had certain treatments.
- Elbasvir-grazoprevir (Zepatier): Elbasvir is another protease (NS3/4A) inhibitor whereas Grazoprevir is a NS5A inhibitor that works by stopping the virus from replicating.
This once-daily pill has cured the disease in as many as 97% of those treated.
** Contact your doctor before starting any of these medications
Common side effects of these medications :
- Flu-like symptoms
- Hair loss
- Low blood counts
- Trouble thinking