Hepatitis C Treatments
Hepatitis C virus is one of the main causes of chronic liver diseases worldwide. In Australia, it is estimated that there are close to 230,000 individuals who have been diagnosed with and suffer from chronic liver disease due to Hepatitis C virus.
Gone are the days of Interferon injections and the pill burden of five or more tablets daily with many inherent side effects. The newer wave of small molecules called DAAs (direct-acting antiviral agents) have revolutionised the treatments for patients with Hepatitis C virus. Newer therapies have been approved for use in Australia, and some have received government funding – including Sovaldi (Sofosbuvir), Harvoni (Sofosbuvir/Lepipasvir), Daklinza (Daclatasvir), Zepatier (Elbasvir/grazoprevir) and Vikiera Pak (Ombitasvir /Paritaprevir/Ritonavir/Dasabuvir). Other therapies and combinations are also being considered such as Epclusa (Sofosbuvir / Velpatasvir).
Eradication of Hepatitis C virus would eliminate the long term damage caused by having chronic liver disease including severe scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinomas) and other complications including low platelet counts with bleeding risks and massive haemorrhage from rupturing of veins called varices in the oesophagus and the stomach. The aim of treatment is also to reduce further transmission to non-infected individuals as well as to prevent the burden on liver transplantation services around Australia.
The treatment of Hepatitis C is changing so rapidly that by the time guidelines from official bodies are published, the guidelines themselves are almost out of date. It is the many hours of study and attendance at updating sessions by our Gastroenterologists that will be to your advantage. At GastroMedicine & ENDOSCOPY, Dr Thuy Dinh, Professor Alex Thompson and Dr Marcus Robertson have special interests in patients with Hepatitis C.
Ask your Gastroenterologist about more recent investigative tools to detect liver fibrosis including FibroScan. Enquire if you need to be on surveillance program to detect early small liver cancers (hepatocellular carcinomas), by having regular blood tests and liver ultrasound.
Some patients also require routine gastroscopy to detect and treat new engorged veins in the oesophagus and the stomach (called varices). By detecting these varices, your Gastroenterologist can decide whether banding or medicines called "Beta-blockers" would be beneficial to prevent long term complications. Ask your Gastroenterologists about the risk of extra-intestinal complications of liver disease including osteopenia (low bone mass), as well as Vitamin D deficiency which contributes to the risk of osteopenia.
For further advice and information, you can request an appointment, or call our reception team on .