Hepatitis A, B, and C
Hepatitis is a general term for inflammation of the liver. This can be caused by many different things, but most commonly it's caused by viruses. In those cases they're labeled with a letter like A, B, or C depending on what virus caused it.
The liver is responsible for cleaning the body's blood, among other things. When it's damaged from drugs, alcohol, or viruses, the liver cannot do its job as well. This can result in stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, and yellow skin or eyes. Blood tests are used to find out if a patient has hepatitis or not, and how a patient should be treated.
The viruses that cause Hepatitis A, B, and C are spread through different ways.
- Hepatitis A spreads when food and water is contaminated with infected feces. It's more common in poorer areas of the world. Vaccines are available to prevent Hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B spreads through infected blood semen. It's usually spread thorugh sex or infected needles. Vaccines are available to prevent Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C spreads mainly through infected blood and needles. There is no vaccination to prevent Hepatitis C.
The goal of treatment is to eliminate or suppress the virus. Because hepatitis medication often causes severe side effects, the decision to use medication depends on the type of hepatitis and the severity of the infection.
Hepatitis A is treated with simple rest and proper nutrition. The body usually clears the virus by itself over a few weeks.
Hepatitis B can also be cleared by your body without medication, but some cases require treatment.
Hepatitis C usually requires medication to help the body clear the virus.
Below are some of the specialty medications carried by Pharmacare that are used to treat Hepatitis B and C. Other medications are available as well.
- Baraclude (Entecavir)
- Ribapak (Ribavirin)
Below are links to other websites with additional information about Hepatitis and Hepatitis support groups. If you have any questions regarding your therapy, please call 808-840-5600.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Viral Hepatitis
US National Library of Medicine: Hepatitis
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Viral Hepatitis. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm
Terrault N, Bzowej N, Chang K, Hwang J, Jonas M, Murad MH. AASLD Guidelines for Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B. Hepatology. 2015;36:261-283.