Mercy's Dr. Paul Thuluvath Discusses New Class Of Drugs For Treating Hepatitis C
Dr. Paul Thuluvath of the Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy
Hepatitis C is a dangerous disease that can lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer — about 4 million people in the United States have it, and the figure is 120 million worldwide.
Not too long ago, there wasn't much you could do about Hepatitis C, and the word “cure” was not part of the conversation.
According to Mercy Medical Center hepatologist Dr. Paul Thuluvath of the Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease, many Americans don't realize they're infected and don't know they aren't screened.
"Many of my patients think when they go for a physical, they are screened for Hepatitis C, but that's not true," he said.
Hepatitis C was once considered incurable, and then along came the drug Interferon.
"With that, we were curing about 6 percent of the patients, and then we added another drug called Riboviron," Dr. Thuluvath said.
With that second drug, the cure rate jumped to 30-40 percent, and when protease inhibitors were added, the cure rate for the most common and most difficult to treat form of Hepatitis C is now at 79 percent.
"The majority of these patients can be cured with 6 months of treatment," Dr. Thuluvath said.
Dr. Thuluvath is also involved in ongoing trials adding a fourth experimental drug to the treatment regimen, with amazing results so far.
"Ninety to 100 percent of the virus disappears within a week or two of treatment," he said.
Dr. Thuluvath hopes to educate the public and doctors about what's going on in the world of Hepatitis C treatment. He said that for many people, a cure is available and Mercy is still enrolling people in ongoing Hepatitis C trials. If you're enrolled, treatment is free.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.