You’ll still need to be monitored by your doctor for a while
Hepatitis C treatment will eventually come to an end (and, thankfully, so will many of the side effects that may have made adhering to treatment difficult). But some of the risks and side effects of treatment may last long even after you’re finished.
You will still need to see your doctor for follow-up blood tests at the six-, 12- and 18-month benchmarks.
If you developed cirrhosis (severe scarring) of the liver due to the hepatitis C infection, you’ll likely be monitored with the following tests even if treatment cleared the infection:
Blood tests to see how well your liver is working
Imaging tests, such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI, every six to 12 months to make sure you don’t have liver cancer
As we’ve reported here, the newest medications in the hepatitis C arsenal have a high cure rate—as much as 95 percent success in most cases. But your insurance may not have covered the pricey new treatment. If you were on an older treatment and it didn’t clear the virus from your blood, talk to your doctor about taking a break and your options for being retreated in the future. Those options will depend on what drugs you’ve already been treated with, your overall health, the results of your liver functions tests and biopsy. Even if the treatment didn’t completely get rid of the virus, it probably improved the health of your liver. And you’ll need to continue seeing your doctor every six months. You should also ask your doctor about any clinical trials for new hepatitis C therapies.
Women who have undergone hepatitis C treatment should note that two forms of birth control will be necessary for six months following treatment with ribavirin. If you were on one of the protease inhibitors, you cannot use hormonal contraceptives (the Pill, patches, implants, rings or injections) because the treatment makes hormonal birth control less effective.