What will happen after my diagnosis?
After your diagnosis, your doctor should offer you a series of tests to check your health. These may not happen all in one go, but will be done over the next few appointments.
What is the treatment for hepatitis C?
Treatment currently available for hepatitis C works by helping the body to clear the virus. A combination of weekly injections with Interferon, together with daily Ribauirin tablets taken by mouth, is currently the ‘gold standard’ treatment. Treatment is given for between 6 and 12 months. Depending on the strain or ‘genotype’ of the virus that you have got, such treatment will typically result in the virus being cleared from the system in 50% – 75% of patients. New drugs given in addition to Interferon and Ribavirin, are now becoming available and are likely to be offered to some patients in future.
When and if to take therapy?
Your decision about starting therapy and its duration will need to be a balance between the supposed effectiveness of the treatment and the risks of side-effects. You will need to discuss this with your health care worker and a lot may depend on the support network that you have around you.
Co-infection of hepatitis B with hepatitis C
Studies indicate that co-infection with hepatitis C can suppress hepatitis B and that the hepatitis C virus is the dominant illness. However, sometimes the combination can lead to very aggressive progression and the risk of liver cancer is increased.
Once someone has is tested and diagnosed positive with Hepatitis C they will be referred to the specialist treatment services to be assessed for treatment. There are two main Hepatitis treatment services in Lanarkshire. These are:
Hairmyres Hepatitis Service
Gastro Nurse Office – Ward 17
East Kilbride, G75 8RG
Tel: 01355 584049 (answer machine)
Monklands BBV Service
Airdrie, ML6 0JS
Tel: 01236 712247 or 01236 712246 (answer machine)
For more information on Hepatitis Treatment Services in other parts of Scotland go to: www.hepatitisscotlandc.org.uk/service-finder.aspx