New revolutionary treatments for hepatitis C are now available for all adolescents and adults in Australia who hold Medicare cards. They are very different to previous treatments as they:
- Cure around 95% of people who take them.
- Are effective for people who have liver cirrhosis.
- Have minimal side-effects.
- Are taken for just 8 – 12 weeks (in most cases).
- Involve daily tablets (no injections).
How should I access hep C treatment?
To access treatment for hepatitis C, visit a GP. In some instances, including where people have cirrhosis, they may refer you to a liver clinic at a hospital or specialist clinic.
GPs who manage and treat patients with hepatitis C may need to do so in consultation with a specialist before a prescription can be issued.
This consultation can be via fax, email, phone or video.
Recent changes to the prescribing guidelines allow experienced GPs to issue a script without consultation, and now also allow Nurse Practitioners to prescribe the new medicines.
It is likely that you will need a couple of appointments with your clinician before a script is written so they can conduct all relevant tests.
Some GPs are still unfamiliar with the new treatments, so it is advisable to be persistent and patient in seeking support.
If you are taking any other medicines or alternative therapies, always inform your doctor to prevent possible interactions or unwanted side effects.