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Post Interferon Syndrome & Nickel Allergy?
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Post Interferon Syndrome & Nickel Allergy?

I'm searching for the cause of long term side effects of Hep C treatment with Interferon and Ribavirin. I am almost 5 years post-treatment, and although the Hep C cleared (for which I am grateful), I've lived with debilitating fatigue, pain, chest attacks, lesions, and more. My question is - Has anyone who suffers from Post Interferon Syndrome ALSO have allergic reactions to Nickel?
Tags: Hep C Long Term side effects, post Interferon syndrome, Hep C treatment, interferon side effects
18 Comments Post a Comment
No. I have been through tx twice and I don't know that I have any lasting sides. I finished this last round in Dec. of 2011. I still get a little brain fog I think but its not as bad as while on tx. I hope these kind of posts don't discourage people from treating. If you see somebody with ESLD your aches and pains look pretty mild.
I certainly don't feel as good as I did 5 years ago either, but I put it down to being 5 years older.  Not to minimize your issues, but maybe not all of it is related to the interferon. Hope you feel better soon.
I treated (unsuccessfully) with interferon/ribavirin in 1999. Within months of stopping treatment, all side effects such, as fatigue and weakness, had subsided. I had no long term side effects from SOC.

BTW, what are 'chest attacks'?
I'm also interested to know what you mean by 'chest attacks.'  I started having pain from my bronchi to my voice box at five months post treatment.  It hurts to lie on my side, to breathe deeply, and I'm getting fatigued after sport really easily.  After I stopped treatment I started running, swimming, and doing pull-ups again.  No problem til a month ago.
I'm 11 yrs. post treatment with Rebatron{ribovirin & interferon]. I too am happy to be virus free.I'm pretty much in the same boat as you.I'm not sure if I have any allergy to metals.The fatigue is horrible and the pain is pretty bad also. I find it the pain hits my weak spots for example I was a lettercarrier for 30 yrs and the pain in my back & spine is real bad[I take Morphine]. Did you know that one of the interferons was taken off the market because of the bad sides.Intron A I think and I am sure thats the one I took. Do you know which one you took? Just thinkin' maybe that might be a factor or the reason. I hope you have a lot of support. It helps me to know I'm not alone and I hope that me validating your reality helps you also. Hang in bro!
I'm 11 yrs. post treatment with Rebatron{ribovirin & interferon]. I too am happy to be virus free.I'm pretty much in the same boat as you.I'm not sure if I have any allergy to metals.The fatigue is horrible and the pain is pretty bad also. I find it the pain hits my weak spots for example I was a lettercarrier for 30 yrs and the pain in my back & spine is real bad[I take Morphine]. Did you know that one of the interferons was taken off the market because of the bad sides.Intron A I think and I am sure thats the one I took. Do you know which one you took? Just thinkin' maybe that might be a factor or the reason. I hope you have a lot of support. It helps me to know I'm not alone and I hope that me validating your reality helps you also. Hang in bro!
I was in the same boat as you but never cleared. The theory of why your system does not return to normal is the immune system is out balance causing auto immune fatigue and other unusual symptoms. The course to take is anti oxidants and vitamins. 600-900 mg High quality alpha lipoid acid daily with 900 mg milk thistle, full spectrum B vitamins and vitamin D-3. Take in measured doses. It took me about two weeks to start to respond and after 10+ years of fatigue I was amazed that I could move again. Good luck
X, glad you found something that helped you.  Just finished tx a few months back.  Seem to be recovering well but like to keep an eye out for things I may want to try someday.  I was wondering how you discovered these supplements would help you?
Yeah, I suppose that ESLD *****.  It ***** also not to be able to kayak or ski or backpack with your kids or wear a short sleeve shirt in public or just live in pain each and every remaining day of your life because of the arthritis and lesions brought on by treatment.

Once again, according to the CDC, the odds are better than 95% that a person diagnosed with Hep C WILL NOT develop end stage liver disease.  

This notion of "I've been diagnosed with Hep C and now I am going to die a horrible death of ESLD unless I treat!" is simply not true.
Does the CDC really say that about 95% will not develop ESLD?  If they say that why are they recommending that baby boomers get checked?
I must be really "lucky", by the time I was diagnosed with HCV I was going into cirrhosis, I had extra hepatic manifestations, cryogloblunema (sp) which was my first sign of HCV, then the low platelets which sent me to a hematologist.  I also had the RA factor related to HCV.  I was having tendon problems.  Of course I did not know what was wrong with me.  I had gone to the doc about fatigue but he just blew me off.  If I had been diagnosed earlier perhaps I could have avoided all these problems.
When first dx, I was told I had plenty of time to think about it as it was so slow moving I would be fine, I could "live" with HCV.  Then I got the biopsy and found cirrhosis and there was no time to wait.
I am so sorry for what you are going through.  I understand your bitterness, perhaps you did not have much damage?  I had no choice but to treat or try for a transplant.  In my opinion, it is not the fact that you have HCV but what damage has been done.  If you have little damage you have time, more damage, not much time to wait.  
Under experts at the bottom right of this screen, under Hep Researcher a doctor wrote of supplements that might help you improve your circumstances.  I wish you the very best.
While I have not heard of the nickel allergy I have heard that the body can change and something that you once used could now cause an allergic reaction.  i.e. hair dye which is something my friend used for 30 years now causes her to have horrible reactions so she now can not dye her hair
Just an example.  I am sorry you are having problems.
Intron A is still listed as an approved drug by FDA. It it conjugated with PEG to form peg intron.


"What are the chances of someone developing chronic HCV infection, chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, or liver cancer or dying as a result of Hepatitis C?

Of every 100 persons infected with HCV, approximately

75–85 will go on to develop chronic infection

60–70 will go on to develop chronic liver disease

5–20 will go on to develop cirrhosis over a period of 20–30 years

1–5 will die from the consequences of chronic infection (liver cancer or cirrhosis)"

Oh Dee, please don't mistake a recitation of possibilities for bitterness.  

The reason I point out loss of ski, hike etc is that there can be very real and substantial costs to the side effects of treatment that far outweigh the benefits of treatment.  The risk of these real and substantial costs is not like the risk of heart attack from taking an NSAID, although one would not know that comparing the warnings for most NSAIDs to the warnings for interferon - they look very much the same.

Research shows that we're all optimists when we throw the dice or buy the stock (or take the drug), but reality is generally not so much in our favor.  


I found the info on this board a few years ago. There was a discussion of various alternative therapies with the Hep researcher and some other posters pro and con. I was skeptical but started using some supplements and had a positive reaction so I continued. Google honest medicine or get the book for more info. I'm not my old self but feel a lot better and plan to treat when the 7977 gets approved. Probably early 2014.
Rambleon quotes one source.
I did a random search and came up with estimates on varying sites claiming the percentage of people with hep C who will develop cirrhosis at between 5-25%.

Here are two examples:

Only the minority of patients with hepatitis C infection progress to cirrhosis. Studies have shown that 20% to 25% of people with hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis ([1]).

Severe progression of hepatitis C to cirrhosis occurs in approximately 20% of patients who have chronic infection.
The biggest problem with estimates, is they are just that. The claim is more people have it than those who know they do. So actual numbers are unknown. What we do know is hep C is responsible for most liver transplants in the US and now surpasses AIDs in the number of deaths.

However, I personally agree with rambleon that some doctors have been eager to treat regardless of liver damage. Luckily this is all changing.

My cynical opinion about why the CDC is telling baby boomers to get tested now, is that makers of boceprivir and victrelis, are behind the push. They want to make as much money as possible before the new interferon free orals are approved. That is just my view.
Thank you, I guess I was one of the "lucky" ones
This was in a section called Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis
but it can be a stand alone condition


Nickel allergy
Nickel allergy is one of the most common causes of contact allergic dermatitis. In affected individuals, dermatitis (eczema) develops in places where nickel-containing metal is touching the skin. The most common sites are the earlobes (from earrings), the wrists (from a watch strap) and the lower abdomen (from a jeans stud); the affected areas become intensely itchy and may become red and blistered (acute dermatitis) or dry, thickened and pigmented (chronic dermatitis).
Who is affected by nickel allergy?

Contact allergic dermatitis to nickel may develop at any age. Once this nickel allergy has occurred, it persists for many years, often life-long.

Nickel allergy is more common in women, probably because they are more likely to have pierced ears than men, although this is changing. The degree of allergy varies. Some people develop dermatitis (also called eczema) from even brief contact with nickel-containing items, while others break out only after many years of skin contact with nickel.
Can it affect areas that are not in contact with metal?

Some people develop intermittent or persistent eczema on their hands and feet. It is usually a blistering type of eczema, known as pompholyx. Sometimes it is due to contact with metal items containing nickel, but often there is no obvious reason for it.

It has been suggested that in some, dyshidrotic hand dermatitis is due to nickel in the diet. Unfortunately it is not possible to avoid ingesting nickel as it is present in most foodstuffs. A low-nickel diet is only rarely helpful.


Nickel allergy is diagnosed by the clinical history and by special allergy tests, patch tests.

Subjects are specifically tested to nickel sulphate-hexahydrate. The chemical formula for this is NiO4S.6H2O.

    Compresses Dry up blisters with diluted vinegar compresses.
    Topical steroids Apply topical steroid to the dermatitis as directed.
    Antibiotics Antibiotic creams or pills may be necessary for secondary infection. Usually a penicillin antibiotic such as flucloxacillin is chosen.
    Emollients Apply soothing emollient creams frequently to relieve itch and dry skin.

Unfortunately, desensitization with injections or pills is not possible.
Avoid nickel

It is essential to avoid contact with nickel-containing metals.
Test your metal items

Test your metal items to see if they contain nickel. Obtain a nickel-testing kit from your dermatologist or pharmacist. The kit consists of two small bottles of clear fluid; one contains dimethylglyoxime and the other ammonium hydroxide. When mixed together in the presence of nickel, a pink colour results.

Apply a drop from each bottle on to the metal item to be tested - first try it on a 10 cent coin. Use a cotton bud to rub gently - observe the colour on the bud. If it remains clear, the item has no free nickel and will not cause dermatitis. If it is pink it contains nickel and may cause problems if the metal touches your skin. The chemicals will not harm your jewellery.

Necklaces, necklace-clips, earrings, bracelets, watch-straps and rings may contain nickel. "Hypoallergenic", solid gold (12 carat or more) and silver jewellery should be safe. Nine carat gold and white gold both contain nickel. Plastic covers for earring studs can be obtained. Coating the stud with nail varnish is not recommended.

Metal zips, bra hooks, suspender clips, hair-pins, buttons, studs, spectacle frames etc. are likely to contain nickel. Use substitutes made of plastic, coated or painted metal or some other material.
Personal articles

Consider mobile phones, lipstick holders, powder compacts, handbag catches, cigarette lighters, razors, keys, key rings, pocket knives, pens as potential causes of dermatitis.
Metal items in the home

Cupboard handles, kitchen utensils, cutlery, toaster, metal teapots, scissors, needles, pins, thimble, vacuum cleaners, torches, bath plugs... may all contain nickel. Choose tools with plastic handles. Stainless steel does not usually cause dermatitis unless it is nickel-plated.

Silver coins are composed of cupro-nickel. Cashiers with nickel allergy may develop hand dermatitis from this source. Wear gloves to handle money or pay with a credit card or cheque.
Metal at work

Nickel dermatitis may be aggravated by contact with paper clips, typewriter keys, instruments, metal fragments from a lathe or chain saw.
Low nickel diet

    Foods allowed

    Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, quark, butter, margarine
    Cereals, bread, flour, rice, pasta Small servings of wholemeal flour, wholegrain
    cereals, wheatbran and wheatgerm
    Most vegetables
    Small servings of beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks , parsnips, potatoes, spinach
    Fruit, raw & stewed
    Tea, coffee, soft drinks, cordials, beer, wine
    Foods to avoid

    Canned spaghetti & baked beans
    Green beans, broccoli, peas including split peas, canned vegetables
    Canned fruit, dried fruit, nuts Cocoa, drinking chocolate, chocolate

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