Home - woman 3

You can get hep B
from blood and
unprotected sexual contact

Home - indigenous

For more information,
call 1300 HEP ABC

Home - Faces

Globally, 1 in 12 people
have hepatitis B or C

Home - beach2

You can only get hep C
from blood-to-blood contact

Home  - family

Effective treatment
is available for
hepatitis B and C

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

News & Events

Get in touch

1800 648 491

Hepatitis C Treatment - Combination therapy

Treatment currently available for people with hepatitis C is Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin; commonly called ‘combination therapy’ when both drugs are used together. Using combination therapy involves injecting Pegylated Interferon into the fatty tissue under the skin once a week and taking Ribavirin tablets daily, for either six or 12 months.

Pegylated interferon monotherapy is also available for people who cannot tolerate ribavirin (i.e. if you have an allergic reaction to it), although this has a lower success rate in clearing the virus.

How effective is it?

There are different hepatitis C sub-types or genotypes. Your liver specialist can do a blood test to tell you what genotype you have. Combination therapy is highly effective:

  • About 80% of people with genotype 2 or 3; and
  • 50% of people with genotype 1, who finish treatment will clear the virus.

What affects my response to treatment?

Some of the things that can affect your response to treatment are:

  • Genotype – genotypes 2 and 3 respond better than 1 and 4
  • Taking your medication at the right time and completing the full course of treatment
  • Age – younger people may respond better than older people
  • Viral load – the lower the viral load, the higher the chance of responding to treatment
  • Weight – people in a healthy weight range may respond better than those who are overweight
  • Alcohol consumption – the less alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to respond to treatment, and
  • Rapid Virological Response (RVR) – people who respond early to treatment are more likely to clear the virus.

 Ultimately though, many people have responded to treatment even with all the odds against them. The important thing is to make an informed decision about whether treatment is right for you, and to focus on the things you can control, like alcohol consumption and weight.

How does it work?

Interferon’s are a group of proteins made naturally by your body in response to viral infections. They work by helping your body to fight the virus and prevent the virus from multiplying. Pegylated Interferon is a man-made version of natural Interferon. Ribavirin helps to slow the speed that the hepatitis C virus makes copies of itself.

How long does treatment last for?

For people with genotype 2 or 3 without cirrhosis or bridging fibrosis (scarred liver tissue), treatment will last for 24 weeks (six months).  For people with genotype 1 or 4, and people with genotype 2 or 3 with cirrhosis or bridging fibrosis, treatment lasts for up to 48 weeks (12 months).

How can I get this treatment?

Liver clinics provide hepatitis C treatment. First you must ask your general practitioner (GP) for a referral to a liver clinic to see a specialist.  There are a number of different liver clinics around Queensland – contact the Hepatitis Council to find out the closest one to you, and which ones have the shortest waiting list

How much does it cost?

If you meet the following criteria, most of the treatment costs are paid for by the government:

  • Chronic hepatitis C infection (shown through PCR testing)
  • Contraception (women must not be pregnant or breastfeeding; and both the person going on treatment and their partner must use effective forms of contraception—one each)
  • Age: people must be 18 years or over.

 However, you are still required to make a co-payment of about $30 per month, or $4 per month if you have a Health Care Card.

 If you have previously been treated with any Interferon therapy for hepatitis C but did not achieve a sustained virological response (either through non-response or relapse), you are now able to undergo retreatment.

What are the side effects?

The side-effects of treatment are significant and can include things like nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, chills, fevers, anaemia, skin conditions, and sometimes psychological issues such as memory loss, apathy and depression.

For these reasons the decision to undertake treatment should not be made lightly as side-effects may impact home-life and work. However, there are many things you can do to manage these side-effects. You will also be monitored carefully throughout treatment by the liver clinic team and it is important to arrange as much support as possible from family or friends before treatment.

Click here for more information

Viral hepatitis (A, B & C)

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, and it can be caused by a virus or other non-viral causes.  The main difference between the viruses is how they are spread and the effects they have on your health.

Read more...

Prevention

There are safe and effective vaccines that protect you from getting hepatitis A and B.  While there is no vaccine for hep C, by being ‘blood aware’ you can reduce your overall chance of being exposed to the virus.

Read more...

Living with Hepatitis

People with chronic hepatitis can do a number of things to stay healthy including limiting/avoiding alcohol, reducing stress, not smoking, getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.

Read more...

Treatment

Effective treatment is available for both chronic hepatitis B and C.  Before you can see a liver specialist to talk about going on treatment, you need to get a referral from your GP first.

Read more...
© copyright 2013 | All Rights Reserved | Website design Brisbane by iFactory