You want the published info, there are a lot of sites. If you would like a personal anecdote, I am more than willing to share.
I shot myself with interferon every other day for 48 wks, the combo tx w/ ribaviron (rebetron). Hep C took my life. It took my health, my husband, and my children away from me. When I was dx'd it was "a life threating, incurable disease". I am one of the long term sustained responders classified as in remission.
"Cure" cannot be used, as it has only been 10 years (1992) since reliable testing could isolate the Hep C virus which comes in many genotypes and seems to be inherent to certain populations/ geographic areas indicating that this genome has geen around a LONG time in humans. Since the virus takes 15 - 20 years to do damage, and is extemely virulent -- much more so than HIV if contained in blood (and that includes viability on fomites as well as in blood products) it has been able to spread silently. The different genotypes which are spread geographically lead researchers to believe that this virus has been around a LONG time in our species... the theory is we live longer now so the 15 - 20 year span it takes to do damage is evolutionary based on the "living with the host".
Unlike HIV, this virus (which is much more virulent than HIV), while both at this time are "incurable" does not inevitably lead to death. Less than half of those affected require tx as it will not progress to even a briding fibrosis on liver biopsy. It is estimated that 15% of those infected are able to overcome the virus, thus antibodies are detected while actual virons are not, thus a PCR is mandatory once antibodies are detected.
Once a PCR indicates actual infection, a liver biopsy and genotype are done. Depending on whether or not progession occurs which can ONLY be ascertained by biopsy (in approx 40% of those actively infected) a therapy can be rx'd based on genotype. A positive antibody does NOT indicate tx is necessary! It must be verifed that the actual virus is present AND that the host system has not been able to "stabilize" AND that progessive liver damage is occuring. The majority of those infected will NEVER progress. The saddest part is that it is now the NUMBER one reason for liver transplants. Think of the numbers on this! Estimates are that one in 50 people have antibodies. Of those 50, 15% resolve it. The rest do not, and less than half progress.
The side effects include suicidal tendancies so MAKE sure anti-D's are started PRIOR to the shots.
First shot produces extreme symptoms in many, including rigor so bad you cannot hold a glass of water without spilling the whole thing. To puke hope to have a bucket nearby, because your muscles cannot carry you to the bathroom. I had a glass door shower, I refused to use it after the 2nd falling episode....
Umm.. okay, enough for one post! PM me, or I can continue on this board if you feel it would be educational.... I can relate all the wonderful sides with interferon and ribaviron!
I lost my hair... I developed skin conditions which last to two years post tx...