THRIVE: Hepatitis C Treatment
New drugs have made Hepatitis C treatment more effective.
In tonight's Thrive Segment, KEYC News 12's Brittany Kemmerer has details on the drug and why some people have been exposed without even knowing.
Hepatitis C is one of the newer chronic liver infections that people were exposed to in the 60s and 70s.
Gastroenterologist, Kara Sullivan, M.D. says, "Some people IV drug use other people if they had to receive blood products such as hemophiliacs, the factors that they needed to use to prevent complications whether their disease or not screened infections until 1987 I believe. People who had to get a blood transfusion prior to 1992 we didn't know they may have been affected by hepatitis C, people who work in the health care setting, nurses, respiratory therapists, dentists, doctors, we're all at risk for possible exposure through one of their patients."
Hepatitis C is a virus that is often asymptomatic, meaning it can affect your liver and not cause any symptoms for 20-30 years.
Sullivan says, "At that point you could develop problems with your liver such as jaundice, liver cancer, liver scarring and all the complications associated with that."
In the past medicines used to treat hepatitis C weren't the greatest.
The treatment was a long process, and therapy caused many side effects, along with the success rate at only 50 percent.
But in the past 5-6 years new drugs have made the treatment effective.
With these new prescriptions comes a big push for the baby boomer generation to get tested.
Sullivan says, "Patients born between 1945 and 65 should definitely have a one-time screening test for help c because many people don't realize that they were even exposed. We didn't talk about tattoos so if you have an unregulated tattoo or if you spent time in prison or even some people who were in the military some of the vaccine practiced in other countries were not exactly up to par where we are now.
If left untreated liver scarring can occur making patients at risk for other treatments.
--KEYC News 12