Sometimes hepatitis goes away by itself. Other times, it will last throughout a lifetime. You can help prevent some viral forms of hepatitis by getting a vaccine. Most commonly, hepatitis infections are treated with drugs. However, there is no way of effectively treating the symptoms of any acute case of Hepatitis. No available therapy is capable of altering the course of acute infection, and therefore prevention is the most effective approach against the disease. The immediate objectives or treatment, however, will depend upon the stage of the disease and the level to which the disease has progressed.
The major goals of therapy for hepatitis are to stabilize the disease and prevent progression of the disease to possible cirrhosis and/or end stage liver disease, which can result in death.
- Stabilize the disease
- Prevent progression of hepatitis to other liver diseases
Hepatitis A (HAV) treatment
There is no specific treatment for HAV and most people fight off the virus naturally, returning to full health within a couple of months. Doctors suggest that people diagnosed with Hep A avoid alcohol and fatty foods, get plenty of rest and eat a nutritious diet. Food and personal hygiene is also imperative for those who are diagnosed with Hep A to avoid spreading the disease to others.
Hepatitis B (HBV) treatment
For most people diagnosed with active HBV, symptoms are not severe and do not require treatment. Treatment includes watchful waiting and monitoring the progress of the disease as the immune system fight s off the virus, and can result in natural immunity. Antiviral medication may be prescribed via pill or injection to those with chronic symptoms to help prevent further liver damage. Treatment with antiviral medication usually lasts 6 months, during a period of careful monitored.
Hepatitis C (HCV) treatment
Treatment for Hepatitis C has improved in recent years and combines the antiviral drugs interferon and ribavirin. The antiviral drugs may cause significant side effects that may be intolerable for some people and can be expensive. Doctors also require regular check-ups to monitor progress. Even if HCV treatment is effective and the infection clears, future immunity to Hepatitis C does not occur.
Hepatitis D (HDV)
For people diagnosed with severe liver disease caused by Hepatitis D, liver transplant has been shown to be effective. There are no drugs that are approved to treat a chronic Hepatitis D infection. However, some medicines used to treat Hepatitis B may be effective against Hepatitis D including alpha interferon and pegylated alpha interferon.
Hepatitis E (HEV) treatment
HEV infections are usually self-limited, and hospitalization is generally not required. During an acute infection, doctors recommend a balanced diet and rest in bed.
Hepatitis G (HGV) treatment
There is currently no recommended treatment for Hep G.
If you are regularly exposed to blood or blood products from others, protect yourself with gloves to reduce the risk of the spread of viruses. If you use injection drugs, use clean, sterile needles. Sharing needles, syringes or other drug-use equipment with others can put you at risk of infection. Furthermore, ask your doctor about hepatitis vaccine. A vaccine for Hepatitis B does exist and is now widely used for routine childhood immunization.