Treatment For Hepatitis C
The goal of treatment is to clear the virus from the body. If you have acute hepatitis C, you probably wont have symptoms, and the virus will clear on its own without treatment. In the case of chronic hepatitis, your doctor may treat the virus with antiviral medication for 12 to 24 weeks.
Until 2011, there were only two drugs available to treat hepatitis C: pegylated interferon and ribavirin . These drugs were often used in combination with each other.
The drugs currently used to treat hepatitis C include:
Chronic Hepatitis B And C
There are specific antiviral treatments for chronic hepatitis B Treatment Hepatitis B is a common cause of chronic hepatitis. Patients may be asymptomatic or have nonspecific manifestations such as fatigue and malaise. Diagnosis is by serologic testing. Without treatment… read more and antiviral treatments for chronic hepatitis C Treatment Hepatitis C is a common cause of chronic hepatitis. It is often asymptomatic until manifestations of chronic liver disease occur. Diagnosis is confirmed by finding positive anti-HCV and positive… read more .
In chronic hepatitis due to HBV, prophylaxis for contacts of patients may be helpful. No vaccination is available for contacts of patients with HCV infection.
Corticosteroids and immunosuppressants should be avoided in chronic hepatitis B and C because these drugs enhance viral replication. If patients with chronic hepatitis B have other disorders that require treatment with corticosteroids, immunosuppressive therapies, or cytotoxic chemotherapy, they should be treated with antiviral drugs at the same time to prevent a flare or reactivation of hepatitis B or acute liver failure due to hepatitis B. A similar situation with hepatitis C being activated or causing acute liver failure has not been described.
How Hepatitis B & C Are Spread
Hepatitis B is spread to others through:
Hepatitis C is spread to others through
Studies show that 5% to 10% of women who have HCV pass it on to their babies before or at the time of birth.
|Breastfeeding does not pass HCV from a mother to her baby. If the nipples are bleeding or cracked, breastfeeding should be avoided until the nipples are completely healed.|
|Hepatitis B is not spread through water, food, kissing, sneezing or coughing.||While sexual transmission is unlikely, the risk increases when there are open genital sores and during menstrual periods.|
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In Case Of Contact With An Infected Persons Blood Sperm Or Vaginal Secretions
Consult a health-care professional or call Info-Santé 811 immediately if:
- You have come into contact with the blood, sperm or vaginal secretions of a person who could be infected with the hepatitis B virus. You may have to receive preventive treatment that protects you from catching hepatitis B. This treatment is called post-exposure prophylaxis. It must be administered as soon as possible after contact
Consult a health-care professional if:
- You have come into contact with the blood of someone who could be infected with the hepatitis C virus. You can get tested and receive appropriate care, as needed
The Hepatitis B Vaccine
There are 2 types of the hepatitis B vaccine in Canada. Both are yeast-based and neither contains any blood products.
Hepatitis B Screening
A Hepatitis B screening will show if youre susceptible, immune or a carrier of hepatitis B. This screening is only necessary for sexual partners of hepatitis B carriers, household contacts and babies born to carrier mothers. It is also necessary for an un-immunized person who has sustained a needle stick injury or someone who works in a high risk environment and wants to be sure their immune status is strong from previous immunization.
- If youre susceptible, youve never had hepatitis B and would benefit from hepatitis B vaccination.
- If youre immune, youve either had the hepatitis B vaccine or the disease in the past. This means you are already protected and the vaccine isnt necessary.
- If youre a carrier, you dont need the vaccine. The vaccine will, however, protect your sexual partners and other people in your household from getting infected.
Who Shouldnt Get Vaccinated?
You should NOT get the hepatitis B vaccine if youre:
- Sensitive to yeast, thimersol , mercury or aluminum.
- Sick with a high fever, respiratory infection or contagious disease.
- Pregnant. .
- Already a carrier or immune.
Vaccine Side Effects
Serious side effects from the hepatitis B vaccine are very rare.
Minor side effects include:
- A redness, soreness or swelling at the needle site.
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How Long Do The Hepatitis A And B Vaccines Protect You
During your lifetime, you need:
- One series of the hepatitis A vaccine
- One series of the hepatitis B vaccine
Most people dont need a booster dose of either vaccine. But if you have had dialysis, a medical procedure to clean your blood, or have a weakened immune system, your doctor might recommend additional doses of the hepatitis B vaccine.
National Trends For Hepatitis C
The trends in reported cases of HCV infection between 2009 and 2018 are presented below. All cases are reported as unspecified HCV infection.
4.1.1 Overall trends over time
In 2018, a total of 12,447 cases of HCV were reported in Canada, corresponding to a national rate of 33.6 per 100,000 population. The rate of reported HCV infection has fluctuated, but remained relatively stable overall since 2009. The HCV rates decreased steadily between 2009 and 2012 and have been increasing slightly since 2014 . Between 2009 and 2018, male rates decreased by 3%, while female rates increased by 10% over this same period. Specifically, over the past five years, both male and female rates have been increasing. Female rates have risen at double the rate . However, rates of reported cases of HCV have been consistently higher among males than females over the past ten years. In 2018, the male-to-female ratio of reported HCV cases was 1.8. .
Figure 7. Number of reported cases and rates of HCV infection by sex in CanadaFigurenote 7 *, CNDSS, 2009 to 2018
This graph displays the overall number of reported cases, as well as the overall and sex-specific rates of reported hepatitis C cases, between 2009 and 2018 in Canada. The horizontal axis shows the calendar years from 2009 to 2018. The vertical axis shows the rate of reported hepatitis C cases per 100,000 population for male, female, and overall, as well as the total reported number of cases of hepatitis C.
What Are The Risk Factors For Hepatitis B And C
Hepatitis B: Although most commonly acquired early in life, adults can also contract it. Hepatitis B is largely transmitted through bodily fluids. It can be passed at birth from a hepatitis B-infected mother or through exposure in early childhood to body fluids, blood or contaminated medical instruments. Hepatitis B can also be transmitted through intranasal and injection drug use as well as infected tools used during tattooing and body piercing.
Hepatitis C: The key risk factors are also intranasal and injection drug use, tattoos and body piercings, high-risk sexual contact, blood transfusions before 1992 and organ transplantation.
Another key risk factor for hepatitis C is being born from 1945 to 1965, during the baby-boom years. Eighty percent of all people who currently have hepatitis C in the United States were born in that timeframe.
Although the reasons that baby boomers are more likely to have hepatitis C than others arent entirely understood, its believed that most were infected in the 1970s and 1980s, when rates of hepatitis C were at their peak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all U.S. adults born from 1945 to 1965 undergo a one-time screening test for hepatitis C. Connecticut is one of several states that has written this recommendation into law. In Connecticut ,the law requires that primary care clinicians screen all adults born within those years.
What Are The Risk Factors For Getting Hepatitis B
Due to the way that hepatitis B spreads, people most at risk for getting infected include:
- Children whose mothers have been infected with hepatitis B.
- Children who have been adopted from countries with high rates of hepatitis B infection.
- People who have unprotected sex and/or have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
- People who live with or work in an institutional setting, such as prisons or group homes.
- Healthcare providers and first responders.
- People who share needles or syringes.
- People who live in close quarters with a person with chronic hepatitis B infection.
- People who are on dialysis.
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How Is Chronic Viral Hepatitis Treated
If you have chronic viral hepatitis, your treatment depends on the type of hepatitis you have:
- Hepatitis B. You will probably meet with your doctor regularly, every six to 12 months, to watch for signs of liver disease and liver cancer. If you plan to become pregnant in the future, talk to your doctor first. You may need antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis B, but many people do not need medicine. The Food and Drug Administration has a list of approved medicines to treat hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C. If you have hepatitis C, talk with your doctor about whether you need medicine. Recently approved antiviral medicines treat and may cure hepatitis C in adults. The FDA has a list of approved medicines to treat hepatitis C. If you have health insurance, ask about your copay or coinsurance and which medicines are covered under your plan.
National Trends For Acute Hepatitis B
The trends in reported cases of acute HBV infection between 2009 and 2018 are presented below. Ten out of 13 P/Ts reported on acute HBV infection in 2018.
3.1.1 Overall trends over time
In 2018, 189 cases of acute HBV were reported in Canada, corresponding to a national rate of 0.52 per 100,000 population. While there was some fluctuation in rates between 2009 and 2013, the overall rate of reported acute HBV infection has remained relatively stable over the past ten years .
Figure 1. Number of reported cases and rates of acute HBV infection by sex in CanadaFigurenote *, CNDSS, 2009 to 2018
This graph displays the overall number of reported cases, as well as the overall and sex-specific rates of reported acute hepatitis B cases, between 2009 and 2018 in Canada. The horizontal axis shows the calendar years from 2009 to 2018. The vertical axis shows the rate of reported acute hepatitis B cases per 100,000 population for male, female, and overall, as well as the total number of reported cases of acute hepatitis B.
3.1.2 Rates of acute hepatitis B infection by province/territory
In 2018, four P/Ts reported rates of acute HBV higher than the national rate of 0.52 per 100,000 population. These included Manitoba , New Brunswick , Ontario and Nova Scotia .
Figure 2. Geographical distribution of rates of reported cases of acute HBV infection across provinces and territories in Canada, CNDSS, 2018Figurenote 2 *
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What Is The Outlook For People With Hepatitis B
The outlook for people with HBV is better now than ever before. You are certainly able to live a full life and help yourself stay healthy. You should make sure to have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider who is qualified to treat hepatitis B, possibly a liver doctor.
Make sure you are vaccinated against hepatitis A. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking other medications or over-the-counter products, including supplements and natural products. These could interfere with your medication or damage your liver. For instance, taking acetaminophen in large doses may harm your liver.
Follow the usual guidelines for living a healthy life:
- Eat nutritious foods, choosing from a variety of vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. It is said that cruciferous vegetables are especially good at protecting the liver.
- Exercise regularly.
- Dont smoke and dont drink. Both tobacco and alcohol are bad for your liver.
- Do things that help you cope with stress, like journaling, talking with others, meditating and doing yoga.
- Avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
How Does Viral Hepatitis Affect Pregnancy
Hepatitis B and C can cause problems during pregnancy and can be passed to your baby. The risk of passing the virus to your baby is higher with hepatitis B than C.
Research shows that pregnant women with hepatitis B or C may have a higher risk for certain pregnancy complications:2
- Gestational diabetes
- Low-birth-weight baby
- Premature birth . Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death and raises the risk of health and developmental problems at birth and later in life.
Talk to your doctor if you think you may be pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Some antiviral medicines that treat hepatitis C, such as ribavirin, can cause serious birth defects if taken during pregnancy.
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How Is Hepatitis B Treated
Your healthcare provider will treat you based on what type of hepatitis B you have, acute or chronic.
Acute hepatitis B infections
If you develop an acute form of the condition, you probably wont need medical treatment. Instead, your doctor will likely suggest that you get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and maintain a healthy diet to support your body as it fights off the infection.
Chronic hepatitis B infections
If you have chronic hepatitis B, you might be a candidate for drug therapy. Usually, drug therapy is used only if you have active liver disease. There are seven drugs that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hepatitis B. Two are injectable forms of interferon, while the five other antivirals are tablets.
You will need to take these medications every day. They help by slowing the viruss ability to multiply in your system. This helps reduce swelling and liver damage. Youll need to be regularly monitored for early signs of liver damage and liver cancer. Your healthcare provider will want to see you once or twice a year.
How Are Hepatitis B And C Diagnosed
Hepatitis B is diagnosed by a series of blood tests. The test may show an ongoing infection or antibodies that indicate that the patient is protected against hepatitis B. In patients who have a positive screening test that suggests the possibility of ongoing infection, further testing is done to determine the levels of the virus in the bloodstream.
Hepatitis C is diagnosed via a blood test called a Hepatitis C Antibody Test. A positive result means that hepatitis C antibodies are present in the blood. But a positive antibody test doesnt necessarily mean a person has hepatitis C. A further blood test is needed to confirm the diagnosis. This second blood test quantifies the amount of the virus or the viral load in the liver and the bloodstream.
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Can I Breastfeed My Baby If I Have Viral Hepatitis
Yes, you can breastfeed your baby if you have viral hepatitis. You cannot pass viral hepatitis through breastmilk.
But, if you have hepatitis C and your nipple or the surrounding skin is cracked or bleeding, stop nursing your baby on that breast until the sores heal. You can pump or hand-express your milk from that breast until it heals. Throw any breastmilk from that breast away, because it might have been contaminated with hepatitis C from the cracked or bleeding skin.
Pumping the breast that is cracked or bleeding will help keep up your milk supply and prevent the breast from getting overly full and painful. You can feed your baby your milk from your healthy breast.24
Does Viral Hepatitis Affect Women Differently Than Men
Yes, certain types of viral hepatitis affect women differently than men.
Hepatitis A affects women and men in similar ways.
Hepatitis B affects women differently than men:
- Birth control. Women with severe liver damage may not be able to use birth control.1 This is because a damaged liver may have problems breaking down estrogen.
- Pregnancy. The risk of passing hepatitis B to your baby during pregnancy is high. Hepatitis B raises your risk for pregnancy complications.2 Talk to your doctor about taking hepatitis B medicine to lower the risk of passing hepatitis B to your baby. Certain hepatitis B medicines are safe to take during pregnancy but are not recommended for everyone. Learn more about hepatitis B during pregnancy.
Hepatitis C affects women differently than men:
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Testing Treating And Reducing Risk Of Hepatitis
If you think youre at risk for hepatitis infection, talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested. A blood test is usually done to see if you have been exposed to the virus. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should get tested for hepatitis.
Get treated for hepatitis infection
There are treatments for hepatitis. Treating long-lasting hepatitis B or C infection can reduce the amount of the virus in a person, which may lower the risk of liver cancer.