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Hepatitis C Treatment Considerations

When the decision about whether to begin treatment for hepatitis C needs to be made, many things are considered, such as:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Evidence of liver damage.
  • How much hepatitis C virus is in the blood.
  • Hepatitis C virus genotype.
  • Other health conditions, such as mental illness or kidney disease.
  • Alcohol use.
  • Illegal drug use.

Your doctor is more likely to recommend treatment for chronic hepatitis C if:

  • You have very high levels of hepatitis C virus in your blood.
  • You have high levels of liver enzymes (such as alanine aminotransferase) in your blood.
  • A biopsy shows liver damage has occurred.
  • You are infected with a hepatitis C virus of genotype 2 or 3. Treatment is more likely to be successful with these genotypes.
  • You do not have other factors that would make treatment more risky, such as:
    • Mental illness. Your illness could be made worse by treatment.
    • Continued alcohol or illegal drug use.
    • A weakened immune system.
    • Pregnancy. Treatment for hepatitis C is not recommended for pregnant women. The medicines could harm the fetus.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Last Revised July 6, 2011

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