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The Treatment Process

This should give you an idea of what treatment consists of, in terms of its timing and the tests that you will need to go through. It describes the usual process although it may vary slightly from hospital to hospital and from individual to individual (if, for example, you require closer monitoring). Currently there is a gradual move away from requiring a biopsy before treatment. Typically, other than cirrhotics, genotypes 2 and 3 are treated for 24 weeks. Everyone else is treated for 48 weeks. For a detailed explanation of the tests, see Testing.

Timing

What happens

Pre-pre-start of treatment

Consultant explains what is involved
Genotype test to decide the length of treatment
Liver biopsy to determine the extent of liver damage (not always necessary especially in geno 2 & 3)

During month before treatment

Consultant goes through results of biopsy and genotyping
Blood tests (for comparison with later tests) including:
Viral load
Full blood count (FBC)
Thyroid function
Liver function test (LFT)

Start of treatment

Pick up first months supply of medicine
Nurse shows you how and where to inject
Repeat blood tests for FBC, thyroid function and LFT

Once a week for first month

Repeat blood tests for FBC, thyroid function and LFT
Nurse goes through results with particular attention to:
thyroid function
neutrophils
platelets
haemoglobin
ALT and AST

Once a fortnight for months 2 and 3

Repeat blood tests for FBC, thyroid function and LFT
Nurse goes through results with particular attention to:
thyroid function
neutrophils
platelets
haemoglobin
ALT and AST

Once a month

Repeat blood tests for FBC, thyroid function and LFT

till end of treatment

Nurse goes through results with particular attention to:
thyroid function
neutrophils
platelets
haemoglobin
ALT and AST

After 12 weeks

Viral load test (quantitative PCR) to see if treatment is working
(if genotype 1, 4, 5 or 6)

End of treatment
(24 weeks for type 2/3, 48 for type 1)

Qualitative PCR to see if virus is detectable

3 months after end of treatment

Qualitative PCR to make sure virus remains undetectable

6 months after end of treatment

Qualitative PCR to make sure virus remains undetectable.
If the virus is undetectable at this point, this is a sustained
virological response (SVR)