To treat or to wait? Only you and your doctor–and possibly BC PharmaCare–can decide whether you should begin hepatitis C treatment now or wait. However, there are resources that may be able to help you answer that question or to think about the factors one may want to think about when considering treatment for hepatitis C. For example, current state of health, virus genotype, work and family circumstances, as well as financial considerations, may all be factors that can influence if, and when, a person decides to try to treat their hepatitis C.
Basic Facts about Hep C Treatment to Consider
Historically, treatment for hepatitis C has been difficult and long – up to a year. However, even now, when newer treatments boost shorter treatment times (8 – 24 weeks) and much less side effects, patients may still face treatment difficulties. A few patients still find that the new treatments are impossible to complete health-wise or find that treatment is too disruptive, given their current life circumstance or health situation. Therefore, patients still decide, or are advised by their healthcare providers, to delay treatment, even when new treatments are available.
Also–and this one is a big one–one should be aware that even newer, possibly better, hep C treatments are on their way.
Resources Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Treating or Waiting to Treat Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis C – Treat or Wait? by Hepatitis C New Drug Research And Liver Health (2016)
- ‘Getting ready for Treatment’ resource guide by Hepatitis Education Canada
- Hepatitis C Treatment OPTIONS: Basic Information for Patients by Hepatitis Education Canada
- Hepatitis C: An in-depth Guide to hep C treatment by CATIE
- Managing possible side effects of hep C treatments by CATIE
- DAAs: Long Term Effects by PHCN’s Daryl Luster
Resources Designed to Help You Talk to Your Doctor
- Keeping track of your health and questions to ask your doctor by Pacific Hepatitis C Network
- A Guide for Getting Ready for Hepatitis C Treatment, an 11 minute video by BCCDC
- Hepatitis C: Treatment Overview by HealthLink BC
- The doctor-patient relationship by CATIE, written for those with HIV, but useful for hep C patients as well.
There are a number of support groups and hotlines available to support you and to answer your questions. Going online is a great way to find local groups and connect to communities through social media, especially on Facebook.
- HELP-4-HEP (hepatitis C helpline)
- HepCBC – Listing of Canadian peer support groups
- Pacific Hepatitis C Network Directory of Resources
- Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre (VIDC)
However, one of your best resource when considering whether to treat on not to treat will always be your own healthcare provider or a healthcare provider. They can talk to you about your different health concerns and weigh in on whether they think treatment is right for you while knowing you and your medical history.
To treat or not to treat? That is still a question asked and still one that should be asked.