Baptist Health Corbin: Treating Hepatitis C
Physician assistant Sara Chasteen and pharmacist Josh Bowling describe how a new oral treatment for hepatitis C can cure the disease before it causes liver damage.
Treating Hepatitis C Health Talks Transcript
Sara Chasteen, Physician Assistant
Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person who is infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who’s not infected. Most of the time this is through drug use when someone shares a needle. It’s also spread through unsterilized tattoos, from mother to child during birth, and also, rarely, through sexual contact with an infected person.
The complications of hepatitis C are that long-term inflammation on the liver can eventually lead to scarring or cirrhosis in the liver. Cirrhosis can also increase your risk of getting hepatocellular carcinoma or liver cancer. So, it’s very important that we treat hepatitis C when we know that it’s there because it will eventually cause problems in the body.
The good news is hepatitis C can be cured, and that’s really what we are doing here and what we’re happy to help people with.
Josh Bowling, Pharmacy
Recently, over the past five years, there have been a lot of advancements. Newer medications have come out. They are now oral, typically taken between eight to 16 weeks. They have a lot fewer side effects than the traditional older medication, so they’re better tolerated. And, they also have a cure rate of around 95 to 100 percent.
Because we have many patients in our community who have hepatitis C, Baptist Health Corbin has a hepatitis C clinic, and we are able to treat our patients locally, patients who otherwise would not get treatment or be able to get treatment.