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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How is Hepatitis Treated?

Question: How is Hepatitis Treated?
Answer: While there is no treatment for hepatitis A, most people who have it recover within a few weeks. Sometimes your doctor may order bed rest and give you medicine to treat symptoms, such as nausea and diarrhea. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B is treated with two drugs. One of these drugs, interferon, is given by injection. Most people get interferon for 4 months. Another drug, called lamivudine, is taken by mouth, usually for one year. Sometimes doctors treat people with hepatitis B with both of these drugs. In some people, hepatitis B can cause the liver to stop working over time. When this happens, surgery to transplant (take out your liver and put in a donor liver from another person) the liver. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B. A new drug to treat chronic hepatitis B, adefouir (Hespera) has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Hepatitis C is most often treated with interferon and other special drugs. An improved form of interferon (Pegasys) was recently given FDA approval to treat hepatitis C. Interferon is also used to treat hepatitis D. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. The hepatitis B vaccine protects you from hepatitis D. There is no treatment or vaccine for hepatitis E.
Health care providers suggest bed rest, eating healthy foods, and not drinking alcohol or taking certain medications as the best ways to take care of yourself when you have hepatitis.

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