How do we treat Hep C?

Hepatitis C is a viral infection which affects the Liver and it is estimated that approximately 214,000 people in the UK are currently infected with 49% of his group being ex or current injecting drug users.

There are a lot of myths around Hepatitis C but it is a treatable disease with medication and the treatment regimens are much more successful and much less problematic than they once were. Historically, it has been a difficult illness to treat and has not always had the greatest success rate. But, in recent years this has changed significantly with some miraculous breakthroughs in treatment. Today treatment is so much easier and in some instances has a success rate of 90% when the course of treatment has been completed and complied with.


How do we recognise the need for treatment?

If the infection is diagnosed in the first 6 months or in the acute phase treatment may not always be necessary straight away.

If the infection is diagnosed in later stages or in the chronic phase treatment will be commenced in line with the advice of clinician’s.

20% of people who get Hepatitis C will clear the infection spontaneously.

There are six main strains or genotypes of Hepatitis C and the most common in the UK are types 1 and 3. The treatment on offer will be the most effective for the strain or strains which the individual is infected with. This medication is usually taken for 8 to 12 weeks.

A fibro scan can be offered to determine the damage to the liver.


What treatments are available?

Direct acting Antivirals (DAA’s) are available

  • The DAAs come in tablet form and are taken for 8-12 weeks. Like any medication the course must be completed to be successful.
  • There are a number of choices and which you will take will be dependent on your personal circumstances and genotype.
  • They have fewer side effects than the previous treatment for Hepatitis C.
  • DAAs act directly on Hepatitis C infection depending on where it is in its life cycle.
  • The old treatment of interferon (Pegylated Interferon α) which was up to a year and involved injections had many side effects and caused service users to drop out of treatment meaning they were not cured, could still infect others and would continue to become unwell. It is vital to stress that this is no longer the treatment of choice.
  • It is important to ensure that any medication which is taken does not interact with any other long acting medication. Always discuss this with you clinician.
  • Lifestyle changes and choices are also an integral part of this process.
  • Some of the medications which are approved for use within the NHS are as follows and can be given singularly or in combination.
  • Simeprevir Ritonavir
  • Sofosbuvir dasabuvir
  • ledipasvir velpatasvir
  • Ombitasvir voxilaprevir
  • paritaprevir ribavarin
  • glecaprevir


In 2021 it has never been easier to get tested and complete treatment. Then we can all enjoy saying “Hep C U Later.”