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Am J Med. 2005 Aug;118(8):808-15.

Treatment of hepatitis C.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Hepatitis C virus is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, with over 170 million people infected worldwide. It is also the leading indication for liver transplantation. Complications from chronic hepatitis C infection include cirrhosis, hepatic decompensation, and hepatocellular carcinoma. As a result, treatment strategies to prevent such complications have been widely researched, although many questions remain unanswered. To date, the standard therapy for chronic hepatitis C infection is the combination of peginterferon and ribavirin. Treatment strategies differ based on factors such as genotype and liver biopsy results. Other strategies must be considered for special groups, such as patients with acute hepatitis C infection, hepatitis C/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection, and prior nonresponse to interferon or relapse after its use. The goal of therapy is to achieve a sustained virologic response (ie, no detectable hepatitis C ribonucleic acid 6 months after completion of therapy). The substantial adverse effects associated with both interferon alfa and ribavirin often make it difficult for patients to continue with their therapies.

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