How Is Hepatitis C (HCV) Treated?

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Treatment of Hepatitis C has used a backbone of interferon, currently with a once a week pegylated version, and ribavirin for the better part of two decades. Recently, new agents called Direct Acting Antiviral, or DAA agents, have been added to the regiments. There are two FTA approved direct acting antivirals, these are both protease inhibitors, but over the coming years, we expect a whole host of new agents to improve our cure rates of Hepatitis C, and decrease the side effects associated with interferon and ribavirin.

Interferon is a natural substance, it's what your body makes to fight off viruses like the flu virus virus. When we give it in higher doses, it can clear the Hepatitis C virus in some cases. However, it is associated with side effects, most of them what you experience when you have the flu, fatigue, body aches, and occasionally depression and lowering of your blood counts.

It is also an injectible drug. We have made it more tolerable by attaching it to a long molecule we call polythylene glycol or PEG this allows it to be injected once a week, but the idea of getting away from an injectible drug, that has significant side effects has led the drive to develop new therapies for Hepatitis C that will allow interfere on free therapy.