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What treatment options are available for cirrhosis of the liver?

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Quick Answer

Treatment options for liver cirrhosis vary by the principal cause. For example, cirrhosis from alcohol abuse requires a complete cessation of the habit, according to WebMD. Cirrhosis arising from congenital disorders and viral hepatitis may require specialized medical treatment and a change of diet.

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Cirrhosis caused by persistent viral hepatitis is typically treated using antiretroviral medications such as interferon, explains WebMD. To improve the possibility of recovery, interferon is typically combined with ribavirin, an antiviral drug. As part of the treatment, patients are required to rest adequately and eat the right kind of foods. Hepatic cirrhosis may also be the result of Wilson's disease, a congenital condition that causes certain body tissues to accumulate excessive levels of copper. The disease is treated with medications that clear away the massed copper. In certain cases, patients may have to take the medication for life.

Liver cirrhosis may also be the result of hemochromatosis, a condition arising from excessive levels of iron in the body, states WebMD. To treat the disease, blood is drawn from the patient once or twice a week until iron levels normalize. The treatment may last as long as two years; subsequent sessions are conducted every two to four months to maintain iron levels in the normal range. Advanced cirrhosis typically requires a liver transplant. However, this treatment is only appropriate for certain types of patients.

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