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Hepatitis C: GlossaryLa hepatitis C: Glosario

Hepatitis C: Glossary

You may hear some of these words and phrases during your hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment. To learn more about any of these, ask your healthcare provider.

  • Alpha interferon: A shorter-acting type of interferon treatment. Alpha interferon is usually injected three times per week.

  • Combination therapy: Using both interferon and ribavirin during treatment.

  • Decompensated: The liver is decompensated when it becomes unable to do its work. This happens in the final stages of cirrhosis. (When the liver can still do its work, it is compensated.)

  • End-stage liver disease: When a patient has end-stage liver disease, the liver is barely working. A liver transplant is needed at this point.

  • Nonresponder: Someone for whom treatment does not work.

  • Peginterferon: A longer-acting type of interferon treatment. Peginterferon is injected only once a week. This is also called pegylated interferon.

  • Platelet count: Tells how many platelets (cells important for blood clotting) are in the blood. The platelet count goes down as the liver develops scar tissue. This count helps doctors know how much liver damage there is.

  • Relapser: Someone for whom treatment seems to work at first, but after treatment, the virus comes back.

  • Responder: Someone for whom treatment works well. A sustained responder is still HCV-free 6 months after treatment ends.

  • Viral load: Amount of HCV in the blood at a given time. In most cases, the lower the viral load, the better the person's chance that treatment will work.

 

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