Hepatitis C Treatment

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Hepatitis C Treatment at Addiction Rehab

Perhaps more than any other illness, there is a powerful connection between Hepatitis C and substance abuse. Read on to discover how Avenues Recovery has seamlessly built Hepatitis C treatment into their professional, top-tier addiction rehab program.

Hepatitis C and Addiction

Hepatitis C is a bloodborne infection primarily transmitted through unsanitary injection practices and sharing needles and syringes. This is most common among illicit drug users, who often lack sufficient or sterile supplies to support their drug use. Because of this, there is a strong correlation between Hepatitis C and drug addiction. A recent study shows disproportionately high numbers of Hepatitis C infections among drug users.   
Unfortunately, timely detection and treatment are rare in this population due to difficulties accessing routine testing and quality healthcare. Diagnosing Hepatitis C requires a blood test with advanced panels to determine the presence of the virus, the specific genotype, the viral load (the amount of virus present in the bloodstream), and whether or not the individual has combated the infection on their own. The test results can take a few weeks to return, and the individual must then remain dedicated to the Hepatitis C treatment regimen for up to 6 months for the infection to be completely cured. When a person is addicted to a substance, the likelihood of all these circumstances coming together is quite slim. If untreated, HCV can become a chronic and lifelong condition.

Hepatitis C treatment for drug abusers is offered at Avenues Recovery rehab

Why Provide Antiviral Treatment for Hepatitis C at Rehab?

Although the Hepatitis C and addiction relationship seems bleak, addiction professionals are thinking creatively in an attempt to change the narrative.

A few addiction rehab facilities have taken holistic treatment to the next level. They knew that many of the individuals entering their doors were likely suffering from Hep C and that few of them would receive treatment. These innovators realized that a rehab facility is the ideal place to treat Hepatitis C.  An entire population of vulnerable or infected individuals, in one place, for an extended period - what a great opportunity to test and treat all at once. These few but fantastic Hepatitis C virus treatment programs saw incredible success. 

Dr. Susan Julius, Regional Medical Director of the Louisiana facilities in the Avenues Recovery network, observed these programs and the high Hepatitis C treatment success rate and wanted to bring them to Avenues. Through her pursuit of excellence for the sake of her clients, an incredible program slowly took root. Avenues Recovery Center partnered with Gilead, one of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical companies, to bring Hepatitis C treatment drugs and testing to their clients.

Avenues Recovery's Holistic Approach to Treatment

In an addiction rehab program like Avenues Recovery, which values a holistic approach to substance use treatment, screening incoming clients for HCV automatically becomes part of the equation.
The disease of addiction takes a toll on the user both physically and mentally. We feel it is our obligation to help our clients fully heal in every way we possibly can. Addressing each element of mind, body, and soul is a core part of our addiction treatment philosophy. Hepatitis C virus treatment is one way that the holistic substance use treatment commitment is displayed in Avenues programming.

Screening for Hepatitis C

During the routine evaluations and testing that are performed as part of the standard client intake process, Avenues Recovery’s Louisiana facilities added one small blood test that looks for Hepatitis C. If Hepatitis is discovered, the blood sample undergoes additional testing to identify the genotype, viral load, and other factors. Suppose it is determined that the Hepatitis is still active. In that case, the client can begin the simple antiviral treatment for Hepatitis C while attending rehab – effectively killing two birds with one stone.

How Hepatitis C Treatment Enhances Recovery

Interestingly, treating Hepatitis C while in rehab has been proven to strengthen and enhance recovery, and improve chances of long-term sobriety. There are growing data points showing that clients who underwent the HCV treatment regimen were a good deal more likely to avoid relapse. How is this so? 

  • Feeling good physically allows individuals to focus on the most important matter: achieving lasting sobriety.
  • Every victory empowers the struggling individual to keep moving forward, while in treatment and beyond. Overcoming this illness can be celebrated as a win that motivates further recovery.
  • Additionally, Hep C can cause fatigue, swelling, and many other painful symptoms, but people become desensitized to the pain since they’ve been experiencing it for so long. Once they are cured of Hepatitis C, they discover new reserves of energy, wellness, and vitality. They are able to throw themselves into recovery and put in the sincere work it takes to succeed. 

Hepatitis C treatment and screening are integrated into the Avenues Recovery program

What Is the Treatment for Hepatitis C?

Here is where the good news gets better. Curing Hepatitis C used to be a big deal. The methods of treatment were either invasive or debilitating, and sometimes both.
But that’s the thing with science. We keep improving at what we do and treating this virus is no different. Nowadays, we have new Hepatitis C treatment drugs, including Epclusa, developed by the Gilead pharmaceutical company. 

Epclusa for Hepatitis C Treatment: The HCV Wonder Drug

Hepatitis C treatment new medications have completely changed the game. Epclusa is a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medication that is taken orally and painlessly. Hepatitis C treatment success rate is over 90 percent, and the uncomplicated regimen consists of just one pill a day.

Clients leave treatment not only empowered with tools to overcome their addiction but cured of Hepatitis C for life. Avenues Recovery Center is now looking to expand these Hepatitis C virus treatment programs to all their facilities in the USA.

What Is the New Hepatitis C Treatment Cost?

The cost of Hepatitis C treatment should not cause worry, as Epclusa is available at no charge! It is covered by nearly every insurance, including Medicaid.
And at Avenues, we are maximizing this progress for your benefit!
With the leadership of our medical team, a Hepatitis C screening and treatment program has been built seamlessly into our residential rehab program. It’s painless and easy, and it happens in just a few simple steps.

Hepatitis C Treatment Schedule

  • When you or a loved one is admitted to Avenues, an expert physician or nurse will do a blood draw as part of your wellness exam.
  • Once your bloodwork comes back (generally in about a week) and if the results for HCV are positive, an Avenues medical professional will educate you about the disease, its effects, and how you can get better. You will watch a short and clear video to further supplement your knowledge. Your attending nurse will answer all of your questions and concerns.
  • The medication will be ordered right away, and your treatment will begin as soon as it arrives. The regimen of Epclusa for Hepatitis C consists of just one pill per day - for only three months!
  • Our medical team will provide you with the pill before you go to sleep for the night
  • After three months, you will receive one more blood draw to ascertain that the Epclusa has done its job, and you are HCV-free! (If this is after you already have been discharged, we will work with your medical provider to ensure that the follow-up takes place conveniently.)

Hepatitis C Treatment Side Effects

When taking Epclusa for Hepatitis C treatment, side effects such as nausea or headaches are possible but very mild. Taking it right before going to sleep will, in many cases, allow you to sleep through these side effects.

Hepatitis C can be a debilitating condition with severe consequences when left untreated. Despite that, testing and treatment are available, and there is always hope for a complete recovery! If you or a loved one are struggling with Hepatitis C and addiction to substances, reach out to Avenues Recovery today to speak to a knowledgeable addiction specialist who can inform and guide you through your healing journey.

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