Dr. Joe Galati
There is so much information available on the new hepatitis C drugs, that at times, it can be overwhelming for the patient. It's amazing to think that we now have a cure rate of over 95% for the majority of patients who have hepatitis C. Yet despite the use of these amazing new drugs that have been FDA approved, many patients and they are family members still don't fully understand what needs to be done, and how to go about getting access to these new therapies. Even the most seasoned patient find navigating the system difficult.
For those with hepatitis C, whether you have been treated, or new to antiviral therapy, below all are a few tips to follow;
- If you have hepatitis C, you want to make sure you have all of the necessary medical records for a liver specialist to see when you are evaluated. This would include blood work, including your CBC, liver chemistries, ultrasound of the liver, and a liver biopsy report if you've had one. If you were previously treated for hepatitis C, you want to know the specific drugs that you were treated with, so that the new treating physician has an idea of how you responded to any sort of prior therapy.
- If you were seen by any other medical specialists, such as cardiology, pulmonary medicine, or endocrinology, having those medical records available would be necessary.
- Knowing your specific hepatitis C genotype is of value, because depending on your situation, the appropriate hepatitis C drug today may be based on your genotype.
- Make sure you have an up-to-date list of all other medicines that you're taking, because there are drug interactions that may take place with the newer hepatitis C therapies.
Many patients wonder what type of physicians they should see for hepatitis C treatment? As the therapies have become easier to administer, is not unrealistic to thank that a primary care physician or internal medicine doctor can safely treat you. In some parts of the country, infectious disease doctors have taking great interest in treating hepatitis C. Likewise, gastroenterologists may also be keenly interested in treating hepatitis C.
As a hepatologist, we have additional training in liver disease, its complications, as well as liver transplant. Patients that have hepatitis C, with more advanced scarring in the liver, have a greater risk for cirrhosis, as well as liver cancer. If you have an increased amount of scarring on your liver biopsy, or you have been told that you have cirrhosis, I would recommend being seen by a liver specialist. This will afford you the greatest opportunity to see that you are managed appropriately.
If you have any further questions, we would be happy to evaluate you.
Dr. Joe Galati, and the Team at Liver Specialists of Texas