Spotlight Series on Hepatitis C

"Ask the Experts": Do I Need a Liver Biopsy Before Starting Hepatitis C Treatment?

The following is a physician-patient interaction that took place within's "Ask the Experts" forum on hepatitis.

Hiv Infection with Hep C infection
Aug 25, 2013

Dear Doctor, Is liver biopsy absolutely necessary my age(51)with side effects? Can I wait for a year at least before starting interferon treatment for HepC treatment? and get newer better medications?

Response from Dr. Taylor

The decision to receive interferon-based treatment with ribavirin now or wait for newer, more effective treatments for people with HIV and hepatitis C, is based on a number of factors.

These include first and foremost, the degree of fibrosis, or scarring, in your liver. There are a number of ways to assess this, including liver biopsy, elastography (FibroScan), your medical history and physical exam, and blood tests. Talk with your doctor about how much scarring you have in your liver. If none or mild, you can typically wait for more effective therapies. If you have severe scarring or cirrhosis, there may be risks to waiting.

Also talk with your doctor about your genotype as hepatitis C treatments and their duration depend on your genotype, or strain of infection.

Return to our full listing of answers to patients' frequently asked questions regarding hepatitis C transmission, testing, management and treatment.

This article was provided by TheBodyPRO.


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