Read the story of a patient who is now cured of hepatitis C, after a long road to treatment.
John Tortelli recently received some good news: The virus that has lurked in his body for nearly four decades, threatening to destroy his liver, can no longer be detected in his blood.
Tortelli, a 64-year-old retiree who lives in Arlington, contracted hepatitis C as a young man, from a blood transfusion during heart surgery. Over the years, the virus has led to fatigue, joint aches, mental fogginess — and continual worry that the infection might progress to cirrhosis, as happens to 5 to 20 percent of infected people.
So Tortelli was delighted when a new class of drugs, with a high cure rate and minimal side effects, came on the market. But his insurer, Tufts Health Plan, balked at paying for the expensive treatment, saying it would cover the drugs only for people with severe liver damage. Tortelli’s liver was only slightly damaged.
After an article detailing his plight appeared in the Globe, Tufts revealed that it had changed its policy, and in late April, Tortelli began treatment with the drug his doctor recommended, Harvoni.
“Great news,” Tortelli wrote in an e-mail to the Globe last week. “I have almost completed six weeks of my twelve-week Harvoni treatment and my viral load is now at zero. I can’t wait to finish and be disease-free for the first time in 38 years.”
Although he’s still under treatment, Tortelli said his hepatitis symptoms are already much improved. The drug, however, causes occasional, slight headaches; muscle soreness; and tiredness right after he takes it. “Overall,” he said, “I would say I feel better.”
Read Full Article: Saying goodbye to hepatitis C – The Boston Globe
|Read Full Article: Saying goodbye to hepatitis C – The Boston Globe|