Re: Question for Thanbey..
Re: Question for Thanbey..
[ Back to Messages
Posted by thanbey
on September 16, 2000 at 00:00:05:
In Reply to: Re: Question for Thanbey.. posted by Eric on September 15, 2000 at 14:27:14:
: : : Are you a medical professional? I may be either confused or simply misinformed but I currently believe that by committing to the combo treatment of Interferon and Ribaviron, that I could rid my body of the Hep C virus. I believe that the damage my liver has suffered will probably never be repaired. I understand that as long as I have this liver damage that alcohol consumption could lead to further damage my liver even if I no longer was under attack by Hep C. I will not be seeing my doctor for 2 more weeks. At that time I will continue to ask more questions in order to gain a better understanding of what I am currently attempting to do. Several celebrities have had much publicized bouts with this decease, most notable being Naomi Judd. She took off a year or 2 to under go a treatment I believe to be simular to what I am currently doing. Several years later, she resurfaced and declared herself cured. Was this truthful or false hope? I also know the David Crosby was diagnosed with Hep C which along with alcohol and drug abuse caused severe liver damage ultimately resulting in a transplant. Do you think he still have the virus and if so won't it begin to attack his new liver?
: : : Hope is something that all of us cling to when dealing with sickness. Is it false hope that my doctor stated to me that this treatment had a 40% plus success rate? Thank you for your reply.
: : Dear Eric,
: : I am not a doctor. My background as a medical professional spans thirty years and is primarily as a hospital social worker. My "beat" was emergency medicine, cardio, and intensive care.
: : I attend all the major liver conferences to listen to the experts and take the courses that the specialists take. However, I make no claims regarding a theoretical framework. For that, I have access to experts and consult with them frequently.
: : Currently I am the Executive Director of Hepatitis C Outreach Project (www.hcop.org) the oldest organization (since 1992) dedicated to hepatitis C in the USA. I am listed in Who's Who in Healthcare and Medicine 200.
: : Your chances of ridding your body of the hepatitis C virus depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is your own genetic make-up. In community studies(all-comers studies) the statistics run at about 10% for a long term sustained response. In clinical trials where the participants were highly selected, the numbers run at about 20% one year after the last undetected result on a PCR-RNA.
: : Fifteen percent of patients clear the virus on their own. Only about 7% progress to cirrhosis, and less to end stage liver failure. The people who have the most severe liver disease currently are those who were not diagnosed early enough to discontinue alcohol or to take the setps necessary to protect the health of the liver. Much more research is necessary to gain more insight into this area.
: : But there are certainly those whose disease has progressed rapidly. These are, generally, people who received transfusions or multiple transfusions, thus receiving large doses of virus in IV. Or they are people who have compounded their HCV with drug/alcohol issues over a long period of time.
: : The decision to treat and what to treat with, as well as what expectation (end of treatment goal) you have of treatment is going to vary depending on what your doctor knows, what your medical history shows and what you want from treatment.
: : I hear from many people who just want to treat because they just want to treat. I have no opinions on this as long as patients have been fully informed.
: : The major benefit to treatment as I see the situation from my vantage point is that ther is a chance for improvement in the liver's health, and a retardation in the progression of the disease. The liver has the capacity to regenerate. It is possible that reversals in fibrosis can occur. The likelihood of this will largely depend on the condition of your liver.
: : Clinical studies have shown improvements in liver histology through interferon (alone) treatment. Ribavirin's sole action is to suppress the virus. It has no anti-fibrosis action as has been demonstrated by the interferon. In fact, reductions in ribavirin down to 600-800 mgs per day have shown to be just as effective as the 1200 dose and this reduction could reduce side effects to tolerable levels.
: : Most people will live long fulfilled lives with HCV. There is no reason to believe (if you take steps to prevent it) that you will die of this disease, whether or not you decide to treat. The interferon gives the liver a break and a chance to restore itself.
: : As for the celebrities you mentioned, I do not know them and cannot speak to their medical conditions. What I do know is that transplant is the ultimate life saving treatment, but it does not eradicate the virus.
: : Acohol is associated with progression of the virus, unquestionably. Smoking is associated with higher rates of Liver Cancer. A person with liver disease should be more careful to avoid fumes from things like paint, exhaust, and chemicles.
: : Be careful about food handling. HCV plus HepA can be a serious problem. Get those HAV, HBV vaccinations.
: : I hope this helps you. Check out our website for links that will lead you to more information on HCV.
: : Very best wishes with your treatment decision.
: : thanbey
: : www.hcop.org
: Thank you for your response. I assume you have read my original message 'under treatment' since you mentioned 1200 mg. I will continue to research more about this desease as well as better ways to help me live a normal life. I can only guess how long I have had this but about 30 years of casual drinking and very limited intake of smoking (quit in 75) could have led to some damage. My Doctor said I didn't have full blown cirosis I just showed small signs of fibrosis (sp.).
: Thank you again for the insight.
You are quite welcome. If you have minmum fibrosis, do not drink any alcohol ever again, and do not smoke (anything) your chances of having a very normal life are excellent, whether you "clear" the virus or not.
You will not likely ever progress to cirrhosis which, by the way, is NOT end stage liver disease. Many people are still able to live full, active lives with cirrhosis. As with many things, it is all a matter of degree.
You can, however, still transmit the virus to others, so take precautions against that.