New treatment "wipes out" Hepatitis C - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New treatment "wipes out" Hepatitis C

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(03/05/14) - Treatment options of Hepatitis C have been limited. Sometimes the available treatments have more severe side effects than those caused by the actual illness. But, a new therapy is actually wiping out Hepatitis C and doing it with fewer side effects. Some experts are even calling it a cure.

Roger Warmuth loves spending time with his dogs, Stella and Teak, "they help me get through the tough times."

He's certainly had some tough times to get through. Seventeen years ago, Roger was diagnosed with hepatitis C, a virus that attacks the liver.  
 
"It's given me cirrhosis. Symptoms as far as muscle aches, bone aches," Roger says.
 
Roger tried Interferon Therapy, an intense treatment that causes severe side effects and only works in less than half of patients.  

"After going through all of this painful process of treatment, the odds were basically against them that they would not respond," says Dr. Nizar Zein of Cleveland Clinic.

But now, there are new therapies that literally wipe out the infection. A class of drugs known as DAA targets the virus itself, not the immune system. They are oral drugs that are taken for three or six months.

In clinical trials, Dr. Zein says, as many as 90 percent of patients were cured of their virus, "going from a very toxic, highly ineffective therapy, to a highly tolerated, almost universally effective treatment."  

Roger will start the new drug in the next month. He's hoping it will wipe out his infection for good, so he can focus on enjoying his pups.       

The downside to this class of drugs is cost. They are very expensive. The latest drug, approved last December, is successful without interferon injections, so patients avoid many side effects. The treatment is approved by some insurances nationwide.

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