What is Hepatitis C - History and Treatment for Patient

What is Hepatitis C

History and Treatment for Patient

What is Hepatitis C - History and Treatment for Patient


Hepatitis C is the deadliest virus ever created. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60 million people in the United States are currently infected, the vast majority of them having contracted hepatitis C as a result of intravenous drug use in the 1990s.

The CDC estimates that as many as 3 million people in the United States, and more than 42 million worldwide, have chronic hepatitis C infection.

On a national level, hepatitis C kills an estimated 60,000 people each year, making it the third most deadly virus on the planet, behind AIDS and tuberculosis.


Even though many of the newly infected with hepatitis C have been newly diagnosed in the past two years, the first global estimate of the impact of the disease was made in 1994.

In a study published in Nature, researchers tracked over 80,000 hepatitis C patients in nine European countries. The patients had hepatitis C antibodies in their blood.

The research found that chronic hepatitis C infection caused hepatitis C cirrhosis and fatal liver cancer three times as frequently in both the most prevalent groups of hepatitis C infected patients (women and men with hepatitis C infection who were long-term opioid users) as in the general population of Europe.

But while hepatitis C is potentially a long-term killer, doctors do have options to treat it. The two most commonly used drugs are ribavirin and interferon.

Symptoms of chronic hepatitis C include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, and sometimes joint pain or muscle pain.

Dr. Thomas Saelens, a gastroenterologist at Hospital de Lille in France, is the lead author of a study published in the December 15, 2011 issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology that examined a clinical trial that was conducted in France.

His study is one of the first to compare both treatment strategies.

What is Hepatitis C - History and Treatment for Patient



Using ribavirin and interferon at a ratio of 15 pills to one pill, the French clinical trial found that hepatitis C infection was almost eliminated in 69 out of 100 patients in two weeks, compared to 49 out of 100 patients in the control group.

When the same treatment was used at a ratio of 15 pills to one pill for 45 days, the infection was almost eliminated in 84 out of 100 patients in two weeks, compared to 45 out of 100 patients in the control group.

After 45 days of treatment, 83 out of 100 patients were not infected with hepatitis C, and 83 out of 100 patients had been treated successfully.

"The hepatitis C virus remains the leading cause of chronic hepatitis, followed by hepatitis B and hepatitis D," Saelens explained. "Both patients with hepatitis C and those with hepatitis C infection who have not received any type of treatment should be screened for hepatitis C."

Dr. Saelens hopes the research will improve the effectiveness of both the hepatitis C drugs and a vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infection.

"The drug regimen of our study reduced the rate of hepatitis C by 48 percent," he said. "At the same time, this reduction was accompanied by hepatitis C clearance that has never been seen before. With a hepatitis C vaccine, there will never be a need to carry this treatment regimen. Therefore, the problem of hepatitis C will become much less severe."

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