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Hi Jay--
I don't have HepC, but my hubby does and he started Interferon (pegasys/ribavirin) just on Friday the 13th. Interferon can be a cure, in genotype 1 patients (which my hubby is, as are you) the cure rate is approximately 50%, but that is really not as accurate as it sounds. There are a lot of factors in that number. How damaged you liver is, how old you are, your general overall health--a lot of things will influence your reactions to the treatment.
First, you need to see a good hepatologist (or Gastroenterologist). You'll need a complete workup/physical and more blood tests and likely a liver biopsy to see the extent of the damage already done to your liver. (My husband developed Primary Liver cancer and received a liver transplant 10 months ago. The Hep C has returned and tho his viral count is only 1 million, we are are not waiting for it to get higher, he chose to begin Interferon while he is healthy). Depending on a lot of these factors, your dr will decide with you whether or not you are a candidate for Interferon treatment. In genotype 1 cases it is usually a 48 week course of treatment. 1 shot a week, on Friday, usually, because you get kind of sick, like the flu for a day or two, combined with the Ribavirin pills daily. We have heard that everyone has a different story about their reaction/experience on it. We hope that my hubby will be lucky and will be able to continue as normal a life as possible--working and maintaining normalcy. In 12 weeks we will know if he is responding to the treatment and if his viral count is down we will continue, if not, we'll stop and let the HepC slowly do it's work. Our choice is to believe that this is a cure for him.

I won't lie and say that this is easy or inexpensive or that it has been a real joyous time for us. He was diagnosed with the cancer 20 months ago and we have only had about 4 good months w/o worry since then. Interferon will either save his life or it won't. You have to be really serious and committed to this treatment, or I don't think they'll even let you do it---you certainly can't do drugs or even drink alcohol on it.

Just get with a good doc and begin the journey. I wish you all the luck. I see you are in The UK--socialized medicine, so maybe the cost factor won't be an issue for you--here in the US the medicine costs us $2500 a month. Insurance covers a portion, but not all--and we're still paying off the liver transplant!

Best of luck to you.
Liz





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