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Deciding on Interferon/ribavirin

How to decide to do interferon/ribavirin? I am having a great deal of ambivalence about beginning this treatment. And a lot of fear. The docs think I should go ahead -- I've probably had Hep C for close to 30 years (I'm 46) from one incident of "we have to try everything once" injecting heroin. I've been diagnosed for 5 years, genotype 2B with a biopsy five years ago grade 1 stage 0.
I have quite a bit of fatigue and have struggled (under control at this time) with clinical depression. The side effects sound so terrible and I'm worried the cure might be worse than the disease.
Any thoughts and suggestions would be much appreciated.
29 Responses
Avatar universal
It's quite personal to each person whether or not to start tx, and yes it is quite scary when you research the side effects.  You must weight out the risks and benefits.  Benefits: you are a 2 which mean half the tx time of 1's, female, minimal damage, and under 50 years of age AND 2's have a better cure rate.  Risks: you have probably read them by now and if you have had hcv for many years it is not going away.  It is not easy and I have had many side effects, including losing my thyroid, but it is doable.  I have 2 weeks left of my very long 48. There is light at the end of the tunnel.  Very best of luck to you in your decision.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your comments. I actually am so worried about the thyroid effects but it sounds as though you are dealing with that so that is helpful to know. I just got off the phone with my doctor who thinks I may be able to do a 14 or 16 week course of treatment (this is new but with my geno he seems to think this might be all I need). I told him I was ready to go ahead so he's ordering the meds. Yikes! I tend to be very drug sensitive (I don't even use tylenol) so I hope that does mean these meds will knock me out. I guess I'll just try to have as positive an outlook and frame of mind as possible.
You are on a long course of treatment -- at what point did you notice thyroid problems?
Thank you again.
Avatar universal
I meant to say I hope that doesn't mean the meds will knock me out. Hooray for you only having two weeks left!
Avatar universal
I can totally relate, the decision process is just that... a process.  I was diagnosed in Nov. 03, liver bx in Jan 04, grade 1 stage 1, and am a 3a, female, 43 years old.  I gave it great research, thought, prayer and started 24 wks of tx in Jan 05.  I am at 13/24 now and it really hasn't been much worse than normal (whatever normal is).  Sure, some days are not so good but it is worth it to me to fight this out of me.  I have 3 kids and want to be around for a long time to see my grandkids one day (not too soon though)

I too, made a impulse decision as a 16 year old who just had to try something new.  The past is just the past now, more importantly is my future.

I just found out this week my ALT level has gone from 58 to 26 and my doctor says I am responding!!!  My WBC is down, 2.3 but my platelets are steady at 140 so I might not have to take the procrit quite yet.

Whatever you choose to do, you will learn a lot here and get great support.

Have a blessed day.

Avatar universal
My thyroid gave out about 3 months into tx.  Actually I felt AWFUL and thought it was due to tx, but after getting on the thyroid meds felt so, so much better.  It is easy to blame everything on the tx meds--don't get me wrong they are toxic, but I was getting a double whammy.  The percentage of those who lose thyroid function are low and some believe those who do are genetically predetermined to have thyroid dysfunction.  It was a risk I knew about starting tx, just like I knew I had a 50/50 chance of getting rid of this virus.  Others have done tx much longer than 48 weeks and I surely commend them.  

Not to make you doubt your physician, but I would research his decision about the short length of your tx (you only want to do this once if you can help it).  Just food for thought.  I am sure other genotype 2's will be along to give their opinion.  If I were a 2 with the "cure" rate of 80% I would go for the full 24 weeks.  Very good luck to you in tx and deciding your course of action.
Avatar universal
Wow! A kindred spirit. I too have children (13 yr old boy and 10 year old girl) and I'm actually looking forward to having more energy for them if I get out of this whole thing on top. Your feedback is so helpful. Thank you and I'll be in touch.
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