This section provides patients and their families with information on three of the most important subjects confronted by a patient seeking to take manage chronic hepatitis B or C.
While no one drug can cure hepatitis, some are increasingly effective in treating it. Interferon remains the most common treatment for hepatitis B and C, especially when used in combination with other substances. In addition to interferon-based therapies, additional drugs are in research or clinical trial stages.
To date, vaccines exist for hepatitis A and B, but not for C. Researchers, however, are working on both preventive and therapeutic vaccines.
If you or a family member has hepatitis, learn how your health insurance policy works. Extent of coverage usually depends on the type of plan you have. While group plans cannot deny you insurance, they can limit medications covered and access to treatments and tests, and limit the annual and lifetime amount they will pay for treatment. Since state and federal laws regulate health insurance coverage, you need to know what safeguards and regulations your state's insurance laws provide you.
If you don't have insurance, options for obtaining treatment and medicine are available. You also may be eligible for government programs.
Clinical trials are research studies used to determine the safety and effectiveness of new drugs and treatments. The trials, sponsored by government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare organizations, and individual researchers, are open to participants only after they've shown promising results in laboratory and animal studies. Participating in a study can offer you the chance to try a new treatment that may (or may not) be better than what is more widely available. Clinical trials for hepatitis are ongoing, at universities, hospitals and in doctors' offices.