Treating Hepatitis C: 6 Tips for Better Treatment Outcomes

Sticking to your hepatitis C treatment plan may increase your chances of achieving a cure.

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Today’s medications for hepatitis C are more effective than before. In fact, the majority of people who take direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C are able to achieve a cure in three months or fewer.

Following your care team’s prescribed treatment plan may increase your chances of a cure. That’s why it’s helpful to work closely with your care team so you know exactly what to expect and how to take your medications.

What are tips to improve my hepatitis C treatment outcome?

The medications for hepatitis C are called direct-acting antivirals. This helps clear the virus from your bloodstream and prevents further liver damage. If you start direct-acting antiviral medications for hepatitis C right away (during the acute phase), you may prevent liver damage entirely.

Here are tips for improving your chances of a cure with hepatitis C medications.

1. Start writing down your notes, questions, and concerns.

There are several different options for direct-acting antivirals, and your care team will pick the best option for you based on many factors. The more honest you are, the more informed their decision will be.

For example, write down all the medications and over-the-counter products you take. This includes vitamins, supplements, and herbal products. Some medications and supplements can interfere with certain antivirals, so it may affect which medications you are eligible to take.

2. Take notes during the appointment about your prescription.

Your care team may have a lot of information for you about how to follow your treatment plan. This can be overwhelming, especially if your appointment is rushed. It may help to take detailed notes during the doctor visit. This way, you can look back at your notes whenever you need to. Make sure to note how the medication should be taken, when to take it, and what the expected side effects are.

3. Stick to your prescribed treatment regimen as best as you can.

Your direct-acting antiviral medication works best when you’re taking it as directed. Missing doses or taking it incorrectly could lead to poorer outcomes.

Consider setting a reminder to help prompt you to take your pill. You can also try using a pill organizer to help you stay on track with your medication.

4. Practice good self-care to feel better and manage side effects.

Like any treatment, direct-acting antivirals have risks and benefits. You may have some side effects while taking your hepatitis C treatment (but it varies from person to person). Possible side effects include fatigue, reduced appetite, nausea, and sleep problems.

Healthy habits may help you cope with some of these side effects (or at least not make them worse). For example:

  • Set and stick to a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day
  • Stay active to help with energy levels
  • Eat a nourishing diet
  • Eat small, frequent meals

5. Avoid alcohol as much as you can.

Alcohol on its own can damage the liver — whether you have hepatitis C or not. It’s best to avoid it entirely, but reducing your intake may also help.

6. Tell your care team as soon as issues arise.

Missing doses? Having trouble following the treatment plan? Having serious side effects? These are all important details to share with your care team. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed: They can’t help you unless they know what the problem is. 

Your care team may be able to provide tips or adjust the plan to help your treatment be more successful. You don’t have to endure the process on your own. With support from your care team (as well as your loved ones), your chances of achieving a cure may be more in reach.