Hepatitis C cure?
So with Hepatitis what does this mean?
Successful treatment for Hepatitis C hasn’t been available for long, so doctors are just starting to understand the long-term outcomes. Do cancer survivors say cured? I think they say cancer-free for 2 years, 5 years, etc. Am I a Hepatitis C survivor or am I cured? Is it still a pre-existing condition? A research site, not insurance, paid for my treatments. But my medical records say Hepatitis C.
So at 24 weeks can I tell the insurance company that I no longer have Hepatitis C? I can’t find the answer to that question without talking to them directly. I will wait until 2014 (I think that is the year) when they cannot cancel me for pre-existing conditions. Insurance politics are so confusing, I am not clear if that stipulation is on the potential chopping block. In speaking with my mental Dr, I realize that I do not have confidence in my treatment and I am waiting for it to come back. I am at 4 1/2 months post treatment. I have been Hep C positive for so long, I don’t know how to have a future in which chronic debilitating illness isn’t a key player. What is the world like with only mild hypertension and chronic but manageable depression?
Below is a good article for defining end-of-treatment terms, although it is a bit dated. Newer drugs are not addressed but the terms are the same.
Hepatitis C: What Is a Sustained Virologic Response or “SVR”? (From Charles Daniel, former About.com GuideSVR)
SVR is the closest you’ll get to “a cure” for hepatitis C.
Sustained virologic response, or SVR, is the goal of hepatitis C treatment. Conventional treatment (a combination of interferon and ribavirin) doesn’t necessarily eliminate the hepatitis C virus from your liver. It can, however, suppress the virus to undetectable levels for an extended period of time. In clinical language, this is called a “sustained virologic response,” or sustained response. It means that during the six months after you complete treatment, there is no detectable hepatitis C virus in your blood. SVR is a good thing.
Studies have shown that with a six-month SVR (which means no detectable virus in your blood for six months after finishing treatment), relapse occurred in only 1-2% of patients. So, for every 100 people who finished treatment and attained SVR, the virus will return in only 2 of them. However, for these people, the
virus never really left. The medicine was able to eliminate most of the virus (so much that medical tests couldn’t detect it), but after treatment ended, for whatever reason the virus was able to continue replicating itself.
Early SVR is beneficial
Since the liver has incredible regenerative ability, achieving SVR
as quickly as possible is important. This is important because some liver damage can be reversed if the cause of the damage is removed. After SVR is reached and depending on the degree of damage from the virus, the risk of hepatocellular cancer is reduced and about 25% of people see an improvement in fibrosis.
SVR compares one treatment to another. For those in treatment, SVR is the goal. However, for physicians and scientists researching new hepatitis treatments, SVR is also used to evaluate new medicines and compare them with proven therapies.
For example, depending on the genotype, treatment with interferon alone usually achieves SVR in 15% of the patients. When interferon is combined with ribavirin in the same genotype, SVR is increased to 70% in some people.
Jana L. Lee, R.N., CCRC Clinical Research Nurse St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital Advanced Liver Therapies, my practical answer source and demon fighter.
- Hepatitis C No Longer a Lifelong Illness: New Book from Hepatology Expert Documents Pathway to Cure (prweb.com)
- Are You A Baby Boomer? Save Your Liver And Get Tested For Hepatitis C Now (forbes.com)
- And Now Godzillaprevir and KingKongViracide: Yes but is Interferon Still in the Mix? (heplikeme.com)
- The Screen Door Swings Two Ways (heplikeme.com)