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should hep c be treated early?
Jun 19, 2004

My liver biopsy was favorable. I have mild inflammation and mild scarring. The doctor said this was good but that my hep c viral load was over ten million and for that reason he wants me to start treatment. My spouse has early cirhossis and they also want him to start treatment. We both work and worry about treating at the same time. My question is: Is it worth it for me to start treatment when my liver chemistries are normal, my spouses have been consistently elevated for many years. Is treating early worth it or should I wait until my spouse completes his therapy. I have spoken with some people currently treating and they say we are crazy to do this together. The doctors disagree. Who do we believe? Please help. Both of us are doing very well from the HIV standpoint which is why the doctors are stressing the hep treatment.

Response from Dr. McGovern

Your question is quite complicated. I would do the following:

1. Your spouse needs treatment now since he has cirrhosis so I would make that the main priority. You have options for yourself.

2. You could try treatment along with him to see how you tolerate it. Not everyone has terrible side effects. If you do have significant side effects, then you can simply stop and do it at a later time. There is no harm in taking some therapy and discontinuing.

3. Waiting a year or so would be reasonable since you have mild disease. Do not drink alcohol during that time if you wait.

Good luck to both of you. Dr. McGovern



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