Hepatitis C treatment
There has been an enormous change in hepatitis C treatment since March 2016 when new treatments were listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The days of many months of treatment with injectable medication, sometimes causing severe side effects, with limited cure rates are gone. Current treatments are tablet only, for 8-12 weeks for most people, with minimal or easily manageable side effects and a spectacular cure rate of 95% or more.
These new treatments are available to people over 18 years old who have had hepatitis C for more than 6 months, and cost about $40 per month, or $7 per month with a Health Care Card. Some pre-treatment blood tests and often an ultrasound will be necessary, and will be bulk-billed. Blood tests during treatment are not usually necessary, but a blood test 3 months after completing the medication is advisable to check that the virus is now gone.
Some people are concerned that they may not be able to be treated because they are still, or have been recently, using drugs or alcohol. As long as the person is able to remember to take their daily medication (and we have lots of good ideas to help with that), it has the same chance of working even if they are still using. It is possible to catch hepatitis C again after a cure, so new equipment and not sharing is very important if people still inject.
Many of our clients who have already been treated are pleasantly surprised at how easy the treatment was, and are very grateful for this opportunity. They feel so much better knowing that they can no longer pass this virus on to their loved ones and that it is no longer damaging their liver. Some even find that troubling symptoms which they didn’t realise were due to hepatitis C, have now gone.
Fresh Start has been treating hepatitis C since 2002, and is delighted to be continuing in this exciting phase. To access treatment, make an appointment to speak to the hepatitis C treating doctor.