But not everyone responds completely to the medicines and cost remains a big obstacle, researchers say
MONDAY, March 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Newer treatments for hepatitis C appear to eliminate the virus in the vast majority of those taking oral antiviral medications, raising the hope that this disease might someday be eradicated in the United States.
The oral medications “work really well in most patients that have hepatitis C,” said Dr. Oluwaseun Falade-Nwulia, the study’s lead author. She’s an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Most people have a 95 percent chance of being cured, meaning the hepatitis C virus is no longer detectable in a person’s bloodstream, the finding showed.
“The other big message is that these therapies are very safe. The risk of side effects are very low,” she said.
Plus, many patients can be treated in just 12 weeks, according to the study published online March 20 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “Oral Direct-Acting Agent Therapy for Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A Systematic Review.” (Free Article)
“It is important for the general public to realize that therapies for hepatitis C have matured and are not going to get significantly better,” Hoofnagle and Sherker said in a statement prepared for HealthDay.
The hope is that more rigorous antiviral cocktails being tested in clinical trials will help patients who fail to respond to treatment or experience relapse, they noted. However, there’s also no guarantee that patients who are successfully treated for hepatitis C won’t develop long-term complications.