Apr 18, 2007
Dr. wants to start treatment on me in 5 weeks. Said I am level 1 and have 85 % chance to cure if use these meds for 1 -1/2 years: Inferion Pill 4 x a day and a shot of Pegysis R once a week. Said it will make me sick and will have to be on disability as I will not be able to function properly at work. I am an administrator of a school. Do I have to give up my job? Does this sound right?
Response from Dr. Pierone
Actually it sounds harsh and perhaps a bit premature. The staging system for hepatitis C is based on the degree of fibrosis observed on liver biopsy. Stage 0 is no fibrosis, stage 1 is mild, stage 2 is moderate, stage 3 is severe, and stage 4 is cirrhosis. It takes on average, about 10 years to progress from one stage to the next, although the rate of progression is faster if one is co-infected with HIV.
Since the natural history of HCV plays out over many years it is often possible to hold off on therapy and see how rapidly (or slowly) the disease progresses. Especially now that it seems we may be on the cusp of a major advance in therapy with the development of hepatitis C protease inhibitors like VX-950 (Telaprevir).
Recent studies with this agent have shown very high rates of rapid virologic response when this agent is combined with Pegasys and ribavirin. Here is a link to a report of the most recent data presented at the European liver meetings.
If the level one your doctor refers to is the liver fibrosis score it seems likely that you can wait for advances in therapy before plunging into treatment. It never hurts to get a second opinion when faced with such an important decision.
Best of luck!
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