Hepatitis C Treatment
Expected Results of Hepatitis C TreatmentStudies have shown that when taking combination therapy, between 40 percent and 80 percent of people have a successful response to treatment with peginterferon plus ribavirin for hepatitis C, called a sustained virological response (SVR). A sustained response means that no hepatitis C virus RNA can be detected in your blood six months after finishing the treatment.
It is important to know that several factors can affect a response to hepatitis C treatment. An important factor is the genotype of the virus causing your infection. People with genotype 1 generally respond less well to combination therapy than people with other genotypes. On average, up to 50 percent of people with genotype 1 will have a sustained response to treatment with peginterferon plus ribavirin.
In comparison, the rate of successful treatment for people with other genotypes is about 75 percent to 80 percent. Because people with genotype 1 have a lower chance for successful treatment, a third drug (a hepatitis C protease inhibitor) is usually added to the two usual drugs (peginterferon and ribavirin) to boost the chances for success. Regimens containing sofosbuvir are very effective, with studies showing success in 80 percent to 90 percent (or sometimes more) of people, depending on the regimen and the genotype.
Other factors beside genotype will also affect the success of your treatment. These include:
- The amount of virus in your body
- How long you have had the hepatitis C virus (HCV)
- The amount of damage already done to your liver.
People with a low level of virus and those with very little scarring on the liver before treatment begins tend to respond better to hepatitis C treatment. However, because every situation is different, your response to the different treatments will depend on several of these factors.