Followed are some info about Hep c, which may be helpful for you.
Current medical treatment for HCV is so limited.
Some patients with hepatitis C benefit from treatment with interferon alpha or a combination of interferon alpha and ribavirin. Interferon alpha is given by injection just under the skin and has a number of side effects, including flu-like symptoms, headaches, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, depression, and thinning of hair. Treatment with interferon alpha may also interfere with the production of white blood cells and platelets. Ribavirin is a capsule taken twice daily, and the major side effect is severe anemia (low red blood cells). Ribavirin also causes birth defects. Women should therefore avoid pregnancy during and for 6 months following treatment.
There are also natural approaches for dealing with HCV. The credible ones focus on protecting and supporting the liver and keeping the immune system healthy. There is some proof that you can use natural means to help you live a long and relatively healthy life with this virus and die of some other cause (preferably old age).
Recently, a version of interferon alpha with a longer half-life (pegylated interferon alpha) was introduced, and the longer half-life means the injections are taken weekly instead of the three times a week with standard interferon alpha. Pegylated interferon alpha and ribavirin lead to a sustained response in approximately 50% of patients.
People with hepatitis C should also be careful of taking vitamins, nutritional supplements, or new over-the-counter medications without first discussing it with a doctor. People with hepatitis C should avoid any substances toxic to the liver (hepatotoxic), including alcohol. Even moderate amounts of alcohol speed up the progression of hepatitis C, and alcohol reduces the effectiveness of treatment. Patients also suffer Fe excretive disorder and more Fe accumulation in body is harmful for health, so patients with hepatitis C must take the foods of high Fe content less or not. Patients should insist a reasonable diet structure by vegetable, fruits, bean products and fish primarily and build up a reasonable diet system in order to release liver’s burden.
In recent years, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) preparation plays an important and special role in liver disease curing. Preparations like YHK and DTS are all have effects on protecting liver, reducing enzyme and receding jaundice. TCM preparations also make breakthrough in anti-hepatic fibrosis activity. It is evidenced that many TCM preparations have efficacy on inhibiting anti-hepatic fibrosis proliferation, debasing fibre cell viability, reducing portal hyension and improving microcirculatory in liver. Use these preparations in a right way can increase therapeutic effects and restrain side effects of anti-virus drugs.
Points for attention:
1. Put away anything that stained by the infected blood and using private commodities like, toothbrush and razor. Throw away the things contaminated by the menstrual flow after dipping in disinfector for two hours. Sexual transmission is low among stable, monogamous couples and using condoms while sex. Individuals having sex outside of a monogamous relationship should practice safer sex behaviors to avoid hepatitis C as well as sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and hepatitis B.
2. To avoid contacting with blood or blood products whenever possible. Health care workers should practice universal precautions when handling blood and bodily fluids.
3. Give up drinking alcohol, because even a little intaking will worsen the disease.
4. Do not inject drugs of abuse, and especially do not share needles with anyone. Be cautious when getting tattoos and body piercing.
5. Choose the drugs that are no harm for liver while you have disease.
6. Do not eat foods with pigment and overfull preservative. Do not have mouldy foods and spoiled ginger.
7. More intaking of proteins and vitamins.
Hepatitis C VS YHK:
In all data that represent liver function status, the most important one is GPT（ALT）, which is a kind of ferment in liver cells. In the case of hepatitis, liver cells are constantly destroyed. Then the ferment comes into blood. We can know the degree of patients’ liver function directly, according to the value change of the ferment.
YHK can reduce the value of GPT（ALT）speedily, normally about 10 days. The great reduction of value of GPT will effectively control the damage of hepatitis virus to liver cell. If the hepatitis patients can keep liver function normal for long time, the disease can hardly develop into liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
In addition, YHK can also reduce the value of GOT（AST）, another data that also represents the liver function status. It is an important proof to know the liver disease. But the GOT（AST）exists not only in liver, but also in heart and muscles. Compared to it, we pay more attention on GPT（ALT）. Speed of YHK reducing value of GOT（AST）is a little slower than GPT（ALT）. For most of patients, value of GOT（AST）can be reduced to about 60 in 20 days after taking YHK.
The number of platelets in the blood will increase after patients taking YHK. The decrease of platelets appears with fibrosis of liver cells.
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Just keep in mind supplements can't eradicate the virus. Only treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin (better drugs coming out in 2011) will kill the virus. The above MAY reduce liver inflammation, but the virus does not die and you still run the risk of liver damage.
The two drug companies Schering-Plough and Roche offer some programs for uninsured people. I don't have the contact info, but I'm sure someone will soon chime in who does. I've seen them posted several times on this forum before.
I just found something Bill1954 posted a while ago. Bill, hope you don't mind me reposting it.
Regarding Patient Assistance Programs (PAP’s) for HCV meds, all manufactures provide meds for little or no cost to those that are uninsured or underinsured, as long as they meet the income guidelines. This assistance is income, rather than asset based; they’ll review your last year’s federal tax forms to determine eligibility. Here are some numbers to the patient assistance programs; you’ll want to call the appropriate company to inquire further:
Pegassist (Roche Pegasys system): 1-877-734-2797
Commitment to Care (Schering- Plough PEG-Intron system): 1-800-521-7157
Here are a few that I saved over the years from posts....
Commitment to Care (Schering-Plough):
PPA (Partnership for Perscription Assistance)
Neupogen and Procrit sources
Contact: Amgen Safety Net Programs
Medical Technology Hotlines:
1-800-272-9376 (202-637-6698 in Washington, D.C.)
and I'm sure there are more assistance programs out there-