Hepatitis C is a potentially serious viral infection that can lead to liver disease and cancer. There is no scientific evidence that homeopathy has any effect, other than a placebo, on this infection.

Sometimes, a person’s immune system can clear a hepatitis C infection, while other people develop long lasting infections that require treatment with antiviral medications.

Treatment options for hepatitis C do not include homeopathic remedies. This alternative medicine uses very diluted doses of substances to treat illnesses. However, there is no sound scientific evidence that this treatment has any effect beyond that of a placebo.

This article looks at hepatitis C, its causes and treatment, and if homeopathy is an effective alternative to mainstream treatments.

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The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with infected blood. It can cause a chronic infection that leads to serious liver conditions, including cancer, cirrhosis, and liver disease.

Hepatitis C is a common reason for liver transplants in the United States. However, some people may only experience mild illness and do not require treatment.

Doctors diagnose around 50,000 new cases of hepatitis C annually, and an estimated 2.4 million people are living with this condition. However, around 50% of individuals living with hepatitis C do not know they have this infection.

Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus, this means that a person must come into contact with blood that already contains the virus to contract it.

A person can contract hepatitis C virus through:

  • injecting drugs with shared needles or other equipment
  • reusing contaminated medical equipment
  • receiving unscreened blood and blood products
  • getting a tattoo or body piercing with contaminated equipment
  • childbirth and delivery
  • exposure to infected blood, including during sexual intercourse

People cannot catch hepatitis C through casual contact, food, or water. Also, breastfeeding or chestfeeding cannot transmit this infection.

People can have hepatitis C for years without any symptoms or have symptoms that are non-specific, such as chronic fatigue or depression.

Individuals may develop chronic liver disease several years or even decades after the initial infection. This can cause complications, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Doctors may not diagnose a hepatitis C infection until it shows on routine blood tests or the person develops liver problems.

If someone has symptoms, they may experience the following:

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine.

Proponents of homeopathy believe that substances such as plants that cause particular symptoms can also treat illnesses that have similar ones. They believe that the lower the dose of the substance, or the more diluted it is, the greater its effectiveness.

However, there is no evidence that homeopathic remedies have an effect beyond that of a placebo.

Homeopathic remedies are often so diluted that none of the original substance remains. Therefore, these remedies are unlikely to cause any side effects.

However, homeopathic remedies are not subject to the same regulations as traditional medicine. Manufacturers of homeopathic remedies do not have to adhere to good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards, nor do they have to prove these remedies’ effectiveness.

Additionally, some products that claim to be homeopathic may contain other active ingredients that could cause side effects or interact with medications.

People may experience worsening symptoms after using a homeopathic remedy, which homeopaths call homeopathic aggravation. However, researchers in clinical trials have found little evidence of this reaction.

There have been no clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of homeopathy in treating a hepatitis C infection.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate homeopathic remedies. A person should exercise caution and speak with their doctor before using any homeopathic products.

Doctors do not use homeopathic remedies to treat hepatitis C infections. Instead, they use oral antiviral medications to attack the virus and cure the disease.

Some people with hepatitis C do not require any treatment, although over 50% of those with this infection develop a long-term illness that requires medication.

Doctors may prescribe one or a combination of the following direct-acting antiviral medications to treat hepatitis C:

  • daclatasvir (Daklinza)
  • elbasvir (Zepatier)
  • glecaprevir and pibrentasvir (Mavyret)
  • ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir/dasabuvir (Viekira Pak, Viekira XR)
  • sofosbuvir (Sovaldi)

A person may need to use medications for 2-6 months to cure this infection. However, the length of treatment may depend on how much liver damage a person has and the type of hepatitis C virus.

Learn more about hepatitis C medication here.

A doctor monitors a person’s treatment by ordering regular blood tests to see if the treatment is working. Medications can successfully cure the infection for most individuals who complete treatment.

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine that uses extremely diluted amounts of substances. There is no scientific evidence that homeopathic remedies can effectively treat conditions, including a hepatitis C infection.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can cause serious liver disease. Doctors may wait to see if the infection resolves itself, or they may prescribe antiviral medications.