Keeping an Eye on the Hepatitis C Goal

It’s a message you’ve probably heard before, but that doesn’t make it less true or important: Hepatitis C is now a treatable disease, yet not enough is being done to achieve the goal of eliminating this public health threat. Direct-acting antivirals are available to cure as many as 95% of hepatitis C infections. The World…

The Female Side of HCV

The hepatitis C virus (HCV), while certainly an equal opportunity virus, presents some unique health risks for infected women. Let’s start with some good news for women: they are more likely to clear this virus than men, meaning that even if exposed to HCV, more women than men are able to fight off the virus…

Coffee: Pour Another Cup, Guilt-Free

Coffee is not only a welcome way that 54% of Americans start their day, it also offers liver benefits to coffee fans. I have shared good news about coffee and liver health in several past blogs, including last year’s The Buzz of Caffeine in which coffee’s ability to protect against liver cancer was discussed. Now…

HCV Blues

By some estimates, depression is experienced by up to one in every three people with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This is accounted for, in part, by the risk of depression that occurs in chronic, long-term diseases of all kinds. For hepatitis C specifically, depression remains a common yet underdiagnosed and undertreated complication. Understanding…

2016 World Hepatitis Day

The “Elimination” theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day – coming up on July 28, 2016 – highlights the vision of lessening the world burden of hepatitis. The organizers note that “Every action is an action towards elimination of viral hepatitis.” This theme is echoed by the first-ever establishment by the World Health Organization for…

Managing Hepatitis C Treatment Costs

Manufacturer coupons for high-cost medications, such as those that treat hepatitis C, make a huge difference for patients. Today’s hepatitis C medications have the potential to cure the majority of infected people; however, they can come with a steep price tag for both patients and payers. In order to bring down excessively high cost shares…

Turning Failure into Success

Hepatitis C treatment, just a few years ago, consisted of only a small handful of treatment options. Any patient who failed treatment was simply out of luck. Today, the treatment landscape has expanded to include multiple different direct-acting antiviral choices. This means a world of difference for patients. It is no longer necessarily a matter…

The Hepatitis C-Parkinson’s Disease Link

An estimated 3.5 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, a contagious liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. Meanwhile, an estimated one million Americans live with the progressive movement disorder of Parkinson’s disease. For the first time, research indicates that these two conditions could be linked. With Parkinson’s disease,…

New Hepatitis C Combo On the Way

Another once-daily pill is on-track for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hepatitis C, adding to the growing number of treatment options for this life-threatening disease. This time, it’s a combination of Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir) with a new NS5A inhibitor called velpatasvir from Gilead Sciences. The sofosbuvir-velpatasvir combination is…

Meet Zepatier

There’s a new option in the treatment of hepatitis C, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving Merck’s Zepatier™ (elbasvir and grazoprevir) just a few days ago on January 28, 2016. This medication’s entry to the treatment field came on an accelerated track with the FDA granting it a breakthrough therapy designation last…

The True Cost

Infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains a leading cause of liver cancer in the United States. Treatments now available for HCV can cure upwards of 90% of patients; however, the high price tag of these HCV treatments can serve as an obstacle to these medications reaching all infected people. Yet, there is a…

More Reason than Ever to Start Treatment

Chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) primarily harms the liver, with liver cancer being a well-known consequence in some individuals – especially those who already have cirrhosis. Yet evidence continues to mount indicating that HCV also increases the risk of other, non-liver cancers. At the 50th International Liver Congress hosted by the European…

Hepatitis C: Looking Beyond the Liver

The liver is, understandably, ground zero when it comes to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, other body organs are not without consequences from this disease. There is a strong association between hepatitis C and chronic kidney disease. This combination of HCV and kidney disease presents challenges for treatment, since hepatitis C negatively affects the…

The Next Wave of Hepatitis C

Despite a few years of good news with hepatitis C – with several new medications bringing cure rates up to 99% – there is also some bad news that must be acknowledged. Hepatitis C infection rates are actually rising in certain populations. The most at-risk population experiencing this hepatitis C spread is that of young,…

Timely Treatment

When one analyzes the medical records of 1.6 American adults, it turns out there’s a lot to be learned there. Researchers with the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS) did just that starting back in 2006 and tracked the ongoing health of those with hepatitis for the next numerous years. As the CHeCS researchers uncovered connections…

World Hepatitis Day

One of the key messages of today July 28th, World Hepatitis Day, is simply this: hepatitis C is a preventable and treatable disease. The World Health Organization created World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the massive number of people already infected with one of several hepatitis viruses, including the hepatitis C, and how anyone…

The Buzz of Caffeine

Coffee brings a variety of health benefits. For the sake of your liver, it’s not just coffee but any form of caffeine that provides a “perk,” so to speak. Readers might recall several of my past blogs touching on the benefits of coffee for those with hepatitis C. Past research shows that coffee slows disease…

Going Against the Grain

Walk the aisles of nearly any major grocery store and sooner or later you’ll cross paths with a “gluten-free” section. Some nutrition experts now suggest that gluten is not only harmful to those with celiac disease, but could also cause trouble for people fighting hepatitis C. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (and similar…