Advances in Hepatitis C Treatment
New Hepatitis C Medications | Liver Transplant and Hepatitis C Advances
University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is one of the country's premier hospitals treating patients with liver failure. Our doctors and researchers help to discover new medications and treatment options for many liver diseases, including hepatitis C.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is approving new medications that will treat cirrhosis of the liver faster, easier and more effectively in patients with liver damage caused by chronic hepatitis C.
Previously, drugs for hepatitis C were protease inhibitors, which means they attacked a certain part of the hepatitis C virus. In late 2013, a new category of medicines came out, called polymerase inhibitors. These medications attack a different part of the hepatitis C virus.
Polymerase inhibitors are more effective than any other drug so far. Patients experience high cure rates, even when they have cirrhosis of the liver, which has been difficult to treat. We offer these new medications to all patients who have hepatitis C.
This new category of drugs is safe and has limited side effects. They also:
- Do not interact with other drugs as previous medications have
- Have higher cure rates than in the past
- Do not cause rashes, anemia, itching or burning anal pain
- Cause less fatigue than previous medicines for hepatitis C
Many transplant surgeons are excited about the new medical treatments for hepatitis C because these medications make both pre- and post-transplant care more effective. They are also leading to better long-term outcomes for patients.
We offer all patients with hepatitis C the opportunity to live free of the virus with the new medications. A dedicated nurse and pharmacist will help patients with issues surrounding insurance coverage of these new drugs.
The advantages of the new medications include:
- Fewer interactions with immunosuppressant medications: Previous hepatitis C drugs had major drug interactions with immunosuppressant medications. These interactions made these medications problematic for patients with a transplant.
- Preventing cirrhosis: Cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C is the No. 1 cause of liver transplant. Medications like ones that have come out in the last few years will help treat patients with hepatitis C earlier in the disease process. This will lower the number of patients who need a liver transplant because of hepatitis C.
- Saving lives after transplantation: For a patient who has hepatitis C, the hepatitis will always come back, even after a liver transplant. However, these new medications can eliminate hepatitis C before transplant. This can prevent the hepatitis virus from destroying the transplanted liver. By eliminating hepatitis C in patients who have cirrhosis before they have a transplant, we do not have to treat hepatitis C after transplant because the virus is already cured. Learn more about liver transplant.
As part of an academic medical center, our Liver Center has participated in several clinical trials involving direct acting antivirals (DAAs). Learn more about our research and clinical trials.
To schedule a conversation with the liver team, please call 1-410-328-5941.
For referring physicians: To refer a patient or get more information, please call 1-800-373-4111. A physician service representative from Consultation and Referral Services will direct your call to the appropriate physician or department.
For more details, please visit our section for referring physicians.