Hep C Treatment: Interferon May Increase Risk Of Death

February 8, 2013

Nurse With ShotHep C retreatment with interferon, according to a review of big trials, actually increases the risk of death.

If one Hep C treatment has failed, trying again with interferon may succeed in reducing virus levels, but actually increases risk of death and does not improve Hep C symptoms compared to no treatment.

First, this will probably lead to a change in treatment recommendations for Hep C patients, as well as a warning to anyone being offered retreatment with interferon alone or in partnership with other Hep C treatments.

Second, it suggests that SVR (sustained viral response, when Hepatitis C levels remain low after treatment) may not be the best measure for successful Hepatitis C treatment. Follow up research should examine other trials, and try to extrapolate what signs indicate patients will have lower risk of death and Hep C symptoms like liver cancer or liver failure.

Regardless of outcome, most Hep C treatments come with their own set of severe side-effects, probably contributing to the increased risk of death.

Hep C does not show up until 6 months after it’s been contracted, and even then it has little to no symptoms—a blood test is needed to diagnose it. Not everyone exposed to Hep C develops chronic Hepatitis C. Those with strong immune systems are usually able to beat the virus (a weakened immune system can be caused by age, by already being sick, by an immune system disorder, or by poor sleep, eating, or exercise habits).

What do you think of this new research?

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