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how much does treatment cost

Hi, I was recently diagnosed with hep c. I am doing everything i can naturally to fight this virus. I am considering going to see a gast. dr. and seeing about treatment. My question is how much does treatment cost. How miserable is it. And if its worth it. Thanx
Best Answer
683231 tn?1467323017
Hi again

I would like to add that yes we have all see the posts about side effects that some people have experienced. Most if not all are related to treatment with interferon and while the problems those people have experienced are not good they are experienced by a minority of patients. Also I believe at least some of them had other medical conditions which most likely complicated their treatment or their livers were already in bad shape to begin with. Which is another reason why treating now while you are younger and relatively healthy is so important.

I was treated 3 or 4 times with interferon or interferon and Ribavirin it was not fun yes and unfortunately it did not work for me. I was able to work full time through every treatment except the one with Ribavirin. I took 2 weeks off as a became very anemic from the Riba. They gave me another med to help with that and I felt much better and went back to work.

Also there are new treatments coming soon that are interferon free that people here have been already taking that they are experiencing little to NO sides. Read about Solvaldi ledipasvir combo pill that just submitted for FDA approval hopefully will be out late this year. The drug manufactures are also helping with  assistance in paying for medication in some cases. Your Liver specialist should know about that. I got a packet from the drug company at my hepatologist's office with a coupon for help with payments. You could also look at Gilead's web site they make Sovaldi which is already available but for genotype 1 they want it to be used with interferon. But even with Sovaldi and interferon people are saying it hasn't been that bad.

Another option for you could be to look into a clinical drug trial at http://clinicaltrials.gov no cost to you plus they do your blood work and possibly some of the other test you liver specialist should be able to help you with this as well.

You are lucky as you may soon be able to be treated without interferon and eradicate the virus before it destroys your liver. But even if you had to take interferon the treatment is shorter with Sovaldi with less sides and very likely to cure you.

See your Doctor, call your insurance for real numbers on costs for medications. Check Gilead's web site for info on help with payments. Hepatitis C is at war with your liver you have to fight back while you can.

Also viral load information is only important while taking medication so they can see if your numbers are declining. Same goes for liver function blood tests they only show your liver is under attack but not how badly damaged it has become. To know how bad your liver is now you need a liver biopsy or a fibroscan.  That is the only way to know how badly scarred your liver is. There are grades of scarring and inflammation 1,2,3 and 4. Grade 4 is complete cirrhosis. If you can get ride of hep c early you could reverse some of the damage done and not have your life shortened by liver disease

I can't express strongly enough to you please see your Dr and find a way to get treated soon

Good luck
Lynn
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2059648 tn?1439766665
Hepatitis C treatment is very expense if you don't have insurance.  There are programs to help with the cost of treatment.  Here is a site you should take a look at "HepcHope.com".  Gives the latest treatment options and will help you with some of your concerns.  Treatment has greatly improve in just a few years.  You ask is it worth it? I can only give my personal opinion....YES!
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Avatar universal

How long have you had the virus? Do you know if you have damage to your liver yet?

You ask if it is worth it. That depends on how much you want to avoid having cirrhosis of the liver and a transplant in your future.

If that is something you don't want in your future, then my advice is do everything you can to avoid it. The new treatments are expensive but there are programs that will help as DWBH said. I would suggest you consult a hepatologist (liver specialist).

Best of luck to you.
Nan
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Avatar universal

This may be helpful.

http://hepc.liverfoundation.org/resources/what-if-i-need-financial-assistance-to-pay-for-treatment/
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Avatar universal
I don't want to put the cart before the horse, but here is a link to information which may be helpful to you if you do wish to start treatment and have no insurance.

Of course, you would need to have a good doctor supervising your treatment.

Nan


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Avatar universal
I do have insurance but i am wondering what amount of out of pocket expenses i will have
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Avatar universal
also according to my blood tests my liver is good
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Avatar universal
If I start treatment will i be able to continue to work? Also has anyone heard of Dr. Sandra Cabot ( the liver doctor), and if so what do you think of her and her ideas on treating hep c naturally? and has anyone tried her livatone product?
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Avatar universal
There are many programs that help people undergoing treatment for Hep C that your Hep C doctor should be aware of. You should seek treatment immediately as it is better to treat early on. At a certain point in Hep C when enough liver damage occurs, it becomes more risky to treat as that is the stage my husband is at now. He has had it treated twice already and it didn't work and now they won't treat again and are waiting for a new drug that will hopefully be available before his liver fails. The old treatment he did required a shot 1x a week with a daily pill and each shot alone cost over $1000...
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Avatar universal
Have you had an ultrasound or MRI of your liver? That is the only way to really know if your liver is okay. Lab work may not reflect what's really going on.

I personally have never heard of Dr. Cabot so I will not comment on her product or her ideas of treating Hep C naturally.

What I will say is my husband has been through hell the last three years as a result of this virus. I do not wish it on my worst enemy.  

There is medicine now that will cure you with minimal side effects. If you have insurance and paying for it is not a problem, then my advice is go for it.

Good luck to you no matter what you decide.

Nan
Helpful - 0
683231 tn?1467323017
I did a little research on "Dr" Sandra Cabot AKA per her web site Dr Sandra McRea.

I searched the Australian Health Practitoner Regulation Agency site (http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx) for her and found her listing
(http://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx?q=MED0000941899&t=ihKWbqbtRtlQTWp5cuMn)

The listing for her details her qualifications as having a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of  Surgery MB BS which in not a Doctorate in Medicine or MD.

She is not a medical doctor but is what Australia calls a medical practitioner.

In that light I would be extremely wary of any products she is selling. Also if there was a "natural cure" for Hepatitis C none of us would be here as we would all have been cured by now. I personally have seen no evidence of anyone being cured except by medicine. I have seen some clinical trials involving milk thistle the results have been in conclusive to non existant.

Blood tests do not indicate the degree of damage to your liver they only show that you liver is currently being damaged but not the cumulative effect of years of injury from the Hepatitis C virus. The only way to know the extent of your liver damage is a liver biopsy which is considered the "Gold Standard" for determining liver damage. However, there are less invasive tests which may be able to provide guidance to your physician as far as the best treatment options in you individual situation. This would be best discussed with your liver specialist either a Gastroenterologist or a Hepatologist.

To find out how much a medication would cost I recommend you contact your prescription plan provider for formulary availability and copayment information. But as there are many possible treatments you would first need to find out what your Liver specialist recommends for treatment.

Back to your original questions

"I am considering going to see a gast. dr. and seeing about treatment."
I would recommend that idea

"My question is how much does treatment cost"
Depends on the treatment prescribed and your copay

"How miserable is it."
Many have said here on this site not too bad with the new therapies. But definitely much less miserable than developing end stage liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer which hepatitis c left untreated can lead to.

"And if its worth it."
YES!

Best of luck
Lynn
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Avatar universal
Thank you for all your advice. I want to do treatment and biopsy and whatever I need to do to fight this virus, but my problem is that I dont have the money. Even though I have insurance it doesnt pay for anything really until I meet my deductible which is more than I can afford. I dont want to put my family into financial problems. I just dont know what to do.
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Avatar universal
Can they tell how long you've had hep c?
Helpful - 0
683231 tn?1467323017
No as far as I know they have no way of knowing. Just based on when you had a positive test for the virus and anything you can think of in your past.

Some had blood transfusions some made some unfortunate choices in their youth or later in life. Some have no idea.

Myself I was in the service in Germany back in the day. I am guessing it was either from a tattoo in a bar in 1977 or some dumb stuff I did in 1978 just 3 times but that was all it took. Learned I had Hep C in 1990. Treated and failed several times with the old treatments. Every 5 years I had a liver biopsy. My liver getting steadly worse every time until I was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2008

A couple of earlier posts had some links for suggestions on how to get help paying maybe you Dr might have some ideas or if you have some kind of help line at your job or insurance company.

It is important for you if at all possible to get looked at as soon as you can to hopefully stop the virus soon and prevent any problems down the road. A lot of people here can tell you if you did become disabled from liver disease it will really put you and your family in financial distress. It is alot cheeper in the long run to fix it sooner than later.

Best of luck
Lynn
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4950316 tn?1394184585
Sandra Cabot's LiverDetox products are good for just that. Detox.
they are not a cure for HCV. (She does well here in Australia as many people are realizing how the liver becomes exhausted and needs support). Nor is TCM (traditional chinese medicine) a cure.
There is no cure for HCV other than the SOC and other new treatments available through programs offered by Liver clinics etc.
Eating a liver friendly diet, taking milk thistle etc MAY assist in slowing down the process of further liver degeneration, and help the liver to rest.
If you weren't one of the lucky 25% of people who spontaneously cleared this virus, after 20 to 30 years people begin to experience, faster and faster, the deteriorating effects on their liver of HCV.
It is a good time to consider treating HCV. there are less invasive meds out with shorter treating times and importantly, higher success rates.
You need to find out:
- your Genotype (this will indicate what meds you need to take)
- have an ultrasound/CT scan to see what your liver looks like
  (fatty, enlarged etc)  and/or
- a fibroscan to see how flexible the liver is (dense) and/or
- a biopsy, which will look at how much scarring/fibrosis (still considered the 'gold' standard of diagnosis)
When you know these things, the first is your genotype, then you can start finding out what the best course of action is, how soon to treat or if you can wait, etc.
Many people in the US are poor, sick etc and find ways to treat. Use this forum as a resource centre, and you will receive great support, up to date info, and helpful anecdotal evidence.
When you start to know more about what strain of HCV you have, what the state of your liver is, what meds are available, then you can begin to research further and get a really good idea of what's going on. You will then be a part of your cure, not on the inside looking out and trusting those with letters after their name to know best.
Good luck.
Keep in touch.
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Avatar universal
I do know that I am genotype 1. And my viral load was 808,000 3 months ago.
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Avatar universal
The other thing that scares the hell out of me is all the horror stories of how bad treatment is and the aftermath of treatment. Has anyone else read some of the posts on this sight about being disabled permanently from the effects of treatment? Especially interferon.    
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Avatar universal
My advice to you is to not to let fear of the unknown make your decision for you (i.e. no treating your hep c).

Take one step at a time. You said you have insurance. Make an appt with a hepatologist (liver specialist).  Get the facts about the current condition of your liver. See what options are available to you for treatment. There is no doubt that an interferon based treatment has more side effects and that the new treatments are leading away from using interferon.

Not doing anything at all is only going to allow this Hep C virus to do more damage to you in all kinds of ways.

Best to you
Nan
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Avatar universal
You are lucky to have found out that you have this at such a great time in Hep C history. My advice is to go to a gastro and ask him to help you get into a drug trial. You might have to pay for some tests prior to getting in a trial - maybe up to $2500 or so, but once you are in they will pay for everything. Hardly any of the trials these days include interferon. I would ask that you not be put in a trial with interferon. Go! NOW!!!!
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Avatar universal
Also, you can't fight the virus naturally. What you can do naturally (with Turmeric extract - lots, Milk Thistle and schizandrae, ALA, B vitamins, Selenium - 400 mcgs and lots of dandelion root decoction as a minimum) to to support your liver. Don't even try to use antivirals. It might possibly make it worse. Don't believe anyone on the net that tells you if you spend $500-$1000 a month to buy their stuff you will be virus free just like them. A tiny portion of the population seems to be able to fight this virus off when it is in the ACUTE stage only. You are probably in the chronic stage. There might be someone on the face of the earth whose body has killed it off in the chronic stage, but it is HIGHLY unlikely. And I am a big proponent of herbs and supplements and diet.

Look - don't panic. It is slow moving. As long as you platelets aren't below normal, or dropping fast - you have time. Probably years and years. So - don't sell your house just yet. If you can't get in a trial soon it will be paid for by insurance companies soon enough. It might be a year, but no reason to pay $140,000 out of pocket unless it is dire!
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Avatar universal
Ive been living with hep c since 2001. I did the shots and went into remission but had pre cancer in my liver. I was told I had 5 years to live IF I didnt do the treatment. I now still have active hep but  my liver is holding strong because I take massive doses of milk thistle and watch my diet. No drinking either. Every doctor ive seen supports milk thistle. Just use a reputable brand. I get mine from vitamin world.  Good luck and lots of prayers.
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Avatar universal
What is milk thistle
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2059648 tn?1439766665
Milk Thistle is a herb that you can buy in pill form in the vitamin section.  
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4950316 tn?1394184585
Milk Thistle is from a plant in the dandelion family. it is also known as Silimarin, St. Mary's Thistle amongst others.
Always be careful when embarking on a course of natural therapies/alternative medicines.
Milk Thistle can be of great assistance to some people, but for others (and it may be difficult to notice these side effects) it can give much less joy.

Side effects may include indigestion, headache and itching. Rarely, milk thistle may result in heartburn, gas, diarrhea, joint pain and sexual dysfunction.

People with allergies to daisies, artichokes, kiwi, common thistle or plants in the aster family may also be allergic to milk thistle. There have been several reports of anaphylactic shock in people who have used milk thistle products.

The safety of milk thistle in pregnant or nursing women is unknown.

Theoretically, milk thistle may lower blood sugar levels, so it should be used with caution by people with diabetes, hypoglycemia and those taking medications or supplements that affect blood sugar levels.

There is a theoretical risk that milk thistle could have an estrogen-like effect, so people with hormone-sensitive conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids or cancers of the breast, uterus and ovaries should avoid milk thistle, particularly the above ground parts of the plant.
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