Hepatitis Treatment

Hepatitis A

There is no cure for hepatitis A. But there are treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms once they show up.

The following should be noted once a hepatitis A outbreak begins:

  • hepatitis treatmentRest: The very first symptom that a patient may experience is flu. It usually makes the patient feel tired and restless. Thus, enough rest and sleep should be done to increase a patient’s energy levels.
  • Take pain relievers: Paracetamol can be taken by a patient who is feeling abdominal pain, headache and muscle pain. Just remember no to take too much of this because it can also damage the liver.
  • Avoid itching: An antihistamine is usually prescribed for patients who experience severe itching. For others, they can do preventive measures to avoid too much itching.
    • Stay in a well-ventilated place.
    • Avoid wearing tight clothes.
    • Avoid taking hot or warm baths or showers.
  • Cope with nausea and vomiting: If a patient feels sick or is vomiting, it is better to take six small meals rather than taking three heavy meals. This may help the stomach feel better. The patient should also avoid eating fatty foods. If the patient still has nausea and is still vomiting, his or her physician may require him or her to take medications.
  • Let your liver rest: The best way to lessen any further damage to the liver is to simply let the liver rest. This means that alcoholic beverages are not allowed. If possible, it is also better if a patient gets rid of any drug medications as this can harm the liver if taken frequently.

If a person has just been infected with hepatitis A virus and has not experienced any symptoms yet, he or she can have a vaccination and take a medication called immunoglobulin. Immunoglobulin is derived from the blood of those people who are already immune to the hepatitis A virus. Once the infection has reached beyond two weeks, the vaccine and immunoglobulin might have lesser effectiveness.

Hepatitis B

There are no specific treatments that can cure acute hepatitis B. However, for patients who do not have severe symptoms, there are home remedies that can be done such as taking pain relievers to alleviate the pain caused by the infection.

To monitor an acute hepatitis B infection, it is suggested that blood tests and physical exams be taken regularly. This is to assess if the patient has been free of HBV and if the virus has not developed into a chronic infection.

In the case where the hepatitis infection has developed into chronic hepatitis, the patient may need to take some medications to prevent liver damage. Patients who have a good liver condition are usually prescribed with a drug called peginterferon alfa 2-a. For those patients who have signs of liver failure, they may be prescribed with tenofovir or entecavir. For patients with severe liver damage, they are usually advised to have a liver transplant.

Although there may be medications that can help prevent the hepatitis B virus from multiplying and causing damage to the liver, remember that they do not eliminate the entire virus. This means that once a person is positive for hepatitis B, he or she can transmit the virus to others.

Hepatitis C

If a patient is diagnosed with acute hepatitis C infection, he or she is usually monitored for three months to check if the body has produced antibodies that fight off the virus. If this does not happen, the physician may require the patient to take pegylated interferon for six months, which in most cases, successfully treats the infection.

For patients that have developed chronic hepatitis C, they are required to take a combination therapy. This therapy is done by taking two different medications (pegylated interferon and ribavirin). The combination therapy helps in producing antibodies in the body that fight HCV and at the same time prevent the virus from spreading in the body.

The duration of the combination therapy will depend on the genotype of hepatitis C. See Hepatitis Testing to know more about viral genotyping. If the patient has genotype 1, the duration will be 48 weeks. For genotypes 2 and 3, the duration will only be 24 weeks.