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408795 tn?1324939275

Tx and Sx's?

I just came across this article and I thought I would share it.  I'm not yet going through tx, but I plan to very soon.  Has anyone had any of these Sx's during Tx?  How did you deal with them or what do you think of the sugesstions?  I didn't want to just drop this on the forum without asking for feedback.  I felt it's a very good article and it's current as well.  Whether I will use what is sugessted with be determined.  I left as much of the article as I felt was important and relavant to this forum.  God Bless

May 13, 2008
15 Tips for Managing Interferon-Ribavirin Side Effects
by Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.

Although it affects an estimated four to five million Americans, there is still no easy formula to eliminate the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). At best, infected individuals have a 50 percent chance of triumphing over the virus by enduring standard combination therapy, a notoriously challenging treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin medications. Most experts believe that the success rate of these drugs would be much higher without the burden of their potentially serious side effects. In cooperation with a physician, those with HCV who can manage standard combination therapy’s side effects are more likely to complete the drug regimen at full strength – and thus have a better chance of ridding the virus from their body.

Especially apparent in the first several weeks of treatment, the side effects of these drugs range from mild to severe. Managing these effects can be simple, involving lifestyle modifications, logical home remedies and taking some routine medications. Beyond these basics, working with a knowledgeable physician is important for customizing a plan to help someone manage their side effects.

The side effects from interferon and ribavirin therapy often lead to lowered dosages or even discontinuation of these drugs. Physicians agree that the more a dosage is reduced, the less of a chance the therapy has at successfully killing HCV. However, dose reduction or discontinuation of interferon or ribavirin may be indicated immediately if severe side effects develop.

Fifteen suggestions to discuss with your physician for managing the most common side effects of combination therapy are outlined below:

1. Getting a full night’s sleep helps the body recover from physical and emotional stressors. Being fully rested lessens the side effects of fatigue, headache, fever, myalgia (muscle pain), irritability and insomnia.

2. Keeping hydrated is helpful to counteract the drying properties of combination therapy. Keeping hydrated is advised to improve fatigue, headache, fever, myalgia and dry mouth.

3. Eating well-balanced meals helps the body bounce back from fatigue, headache, fever and myalgia.

4. Engaging in regular exercise keeps your circulation going and thus helps prevent fatigue, headache, fever and myalgia.

5. Taking a hot bath or using hot packs is recognized for helping relieve myalgia.

6. Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or NSAIDS can reduce fatigue, headaches, fever, myalgias or liver pain. However, dosage and safety considerations must be confirmed by your doctor since these drugs may place an additional burden on the liver.

7. Include ginger in your day by drinking it in tea, ale or snacking on ginger baked goods to relieve nausea.

8. Taking ribavirin with food and eating small, frequent meals helps ease ribavirin-related nausea.

9. Prochlorperazine (compazine) may stop nausea but should only be done under a physician’s guidance.

10. Avoiding stimulants like caffeine at night can reduce insomnia and irritability.

11. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as taking a deep breath and counting to ten, can significantly help reduce irritability.

12. Taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been proven effective in treating the depression associated with interferon therapy for certain individuals. The additional side effects of SSRIs and treatment guidelines must be carefully evaluated by your physician.

13. Sharing feelings with friends, family or a support group can help many people cope with the irritability and depression often accompanying HCV therapy.

14. Being gentle with your hair can help minimize hair loss. This includes not pulling on or braiding the hair, avoiding vigorous combing or brushing and only using natural (not harsh) hair products.

15. Avoiding hot or spicy foods minimizes mouth irritation. For those dealing with the side effects of a dry mouth or mouth sores, avoiding these types of foods is a must.

Some of these tips for managing side effects are easily accomplished at home while others require collaboration with your physician. However it is accomplished, reducing side effect severity helps people endure a full course of combination therapy, a feat that increases their odds of eliminating the Hepatitis C virus.


www.clevelandclinic.org, Managing Side Effects of Hepatitis C Treatment, The Cleveland Clinic Department of Patient Education and Health Information, 2008.

www.hepatitis.va.gov, Clinical Manual: Interferon and Ribavirin Treatment Side Effects, United States Department of Veteran Affairs, 2008.

www.hepcawareness.net.au, Treatment Side Effects, Australian Hepatitis Council, 2008.
10 Responses
Avatar universal
Thanks for posting that.  Sure wish I'd seen it at the beginning of tx, instead of now when I'm close to the end.

BTW, love your mandolin - great photo.

149675 tn?1416676733
Nice Job on posting this I appreciate it as I too am going to be headed down the old TX road in a couple of days. Thanks
408795 tn?1324939275
Glad to help, I hope others take a look at it.  Nobody really has to comment, if these ideas help someone that's great as that's why I posted it.  I just felt strange not posting a question, so I did.  Again, good luck to you on your trial.  God Bless
461838 tn?1255793816
Thanks for posting this, and thanks for anything anybody else can share. I am starting tx soon, I always look forward to getting on these forums.
408795 tn?1324939275
As I will start tx most likely within the next 2 months, I was wondering about question number 1.    Getting a full night of sleep or something to that affect.  Does it matter if that sleep is artificially induced?  Can you take something to get to sleep, I mean I know you can, but is it considered a no no?  Actually I will ask my doctor as well, but I was wondering what some people on this forum have done or have been advised to do.  I know that naturally induced sleep would be most preferred, but it's not always realistic.  later
233616 tn?1312790796
ekk....5 and 6 are big no nos.

some tylenol is ok if in stage 1...but reduce it to ZERO by stage 3 and NEVER take more than 2 grams a day at any stage.

6 hot baths feel good but they intensify the riba itching and dryness...they dehydrate the skin....so temporary releif...that then makes you worse for days...not a good trade off.

hot bath are recognized but NOT with ribavirin in tow....whoever wrote this is giving general medical info not specific to SOC sides...and has obviously never had this disease. She hasn't got a medical degree either...so consider the source.
there are a few good suggestions, but diet info is incomplete, Riba absorption, incomplete, SSRI's have caveots with LD not even mentioned...and on and on it goes.. Sorry....
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