Hepatitis C is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. Over time, it scars the liver and can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and death. The virus stays in the body unless it is treated with medicine. Hepatitis C can also cause many issues outside of the liver, such as body aches, fatigue, memory issues, as well as nerve and kidney damage.
There are many medicines that can treat the virus. Treatment plans are chosen for each person based on:
stage of liver disease
The treatment plan will include taking medicines, blood tests, and clinic visits. Your care team will review your treatment plan in great detail with you as you prepare to begin treatment.
Review handouts about your medicines. These will explain how to take them, what to do if you miss a dose, and what to expect during treatment.
Take all medicines as directed at the same times each day. Every dose counts!
Do not start, stop, or change any medicines during your treatment until you review with your care team.
Keep track of your medicine supply and plan ahead.
Call ahead for refills. Most pharmacies have to order these medicines, so they often need a few days to get them ready.
Bring your hepatitis C medicines with you if you are coming to clinic, going to an emergency room, or being admitted to the hospital.
If you are travelling, take a supply with you for a few extra days, just in case you are delayed.
Report any side effects or problems you have with your medicines. Some common side effects are headache, fatigue, sleep problems, and nausea. Other side effects are more serious and require changes in the treatment plan.
Getting blood tests during treatment is very important. This helps to check for side effects and to see if the treatment is working.
You must complete the full course of treatment, even if your virus becomes negative while on the medicines.