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Feature Article

Hepatitis C: debunking the seven major myths

Katrina Watson

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Abstract

Providing accurate information greatly helps patients come to terms with a diagnosis of hepatitis C. Current treatment produces a cure in about half of those infected with the hepatitis C virus.

Key Points

  • Hepatitis C is common, but most affected people are not diagnosed.
  • Patients are often given misinformation on transmission and prognosis.
  • Diagnosis, after appropriate counselling, provides the patient with a chance of cure.
  • The treatment of hepatitis C is a six- or 12-month course of weekly pegylated interferon injections and daily ribavirin tablets.
  • The cure rate with treatment is 50% across the board (range 30 to 80%), and while side effects are common, they can usually be managed. Early treatment gives better cure rates.
  • Successful treatment should prevent serious long term morbidity and mortality due to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

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