Hepatitis C develops due to a viral infection that inflames the liver, sometimes resulting in severe damage to the liver. HCV (the hepatitis C virus) is transmitted via contact with infected blood.
Treatment of hepatitis C used to necessitate the use of oral medicines and injections on a weekly basis that most individuals with hepatitis C couldn’t go on due to pre-existing health conditions or adverse side effects. However, hepatitis C can now be cured using oral medicines daily in a period of 2-6 months. Regardless, many individuals with the hepatitis C virus are unaware of their status as they remain asymptomatic for a long time, sometimes for decades. Hence, the CDC recommends that high-risk individuals get screened for the virus one time, which specifically refers to people born between the years 1945 and 1965.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Long-lasting hepatitis C infection is referred to as chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C remains silent for years before the infection destroys the liver enough to bring on symptoms of liver disease. The most common symptoms of chronic hepatitis C are:
- Bleeding and bruising easily
- Loss of appetite
- Darkened urine color
- Swelling in the stomach and legs
- Weight loss
- Dizziness, disorientation, and speech problems
There is a minimum of six separate genotypes of the hepatitis C virus, all of which differ genetically. Determining the genotype of the infection is the primary determinant where the treatment method is concerned. Nearly 75% of hepatitis C patients in the U.S. have genotype 1; about 20-25% of them have genotypes 2 and 3; and a very small portion of the infected individuals have genotypes 4, 5, and 6.
Glecaprevir Hep C Treatments
Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir under the brand name Mavyret is a new, FDA-approved medication used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, specifically for the genotypes 1 through 6 of the viral infection in patients without liver disease or with a mild liver disease. The medication was also approved to be used in treating individuals with hepatitis C genotype 1 who have received hep c treatment consisting of an NS5A inhibitor or an NS3/4A protease inhibitor. The medication is not approved for those whose treatment included both inhibitors, however.
Glecaprevir is marked as the first 8-week long FDA-approved treatment for all HCV genotypes 1-6 in individuals without liver disease who have not previously been in treatment. Prior to glecaprevir, the standard treatment duration was typically longer than 12 weeks. Still, the duration of treatment varies according to each patient’s history of treatment, infection genotype, and liver disease status. The most common side effects associated with glecaprevir/pibrentasvir are headaches, nausea, and lethargy.
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