Be VERY careful upping your riba.
The "Lindahl" study group was closely monitored using HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) serum riba testing, that to my knowledge is still not readily available in this country. That, and the fact that 2 out of the 9 active participants required two blood transfusions each.
The "tricky" part, if you want to call it that, is titering up the riba in a way that will get you to a preset therapeutic level (difficult to determine without HPLC testing but in theory possible using the level of anemia as a guide) without putting you in the ER, which is where I ended up when I added riba too fast based on my impatience of "catching up" to the Lindahl study after starting a week late.
You have to keeep in mind that it may take as long as 2 weeks to feel the effects of an increase in ribavirin, so the fact that you can tolerate, say an extra 200 mg, means nothing until you wait 2 weeks and see how you are affected. In other words, you don't want to add xtra riba on Friday just because you could tolerate the xtra riba you added on Monday (my faulty logic), because all of a sudden the xtra riba can catch up to you on a delayed time basis. For this reason, higher dose ribavirin should only be attempted in a very controlled manner and under the supervision of your treatment doctor who hopefully has done some research into higher dose ribavirin and ideally has contacted the Lindahl group for more current feedback on their protocols, etc. My doctor and NP were aware of my exact ribavirin dose at all points during treatment.
All the best,
Cruelworld, thats great advice you had from jmjm530,
The general "feeling" among liver docs (supported by many studies, but not a question specifically addressed at the outset of those studies) is that the more ribavirin a patient can tolerate, the better, in terms of eventual SVR rates. Obviously, doing this without careful monitoring, especially for small women, could be very dangerous. As jmjm530 implies the onset of ribavirin toxcity can be precipitous, and increasing your ribavirin dose beyond 'standard' doses should only be undertaken with the knowlewdge of your Doc and with very careful, frequent monitoring of your bloods.
Our posts crossed.
Do they use HPLC in your country? I'm suprised it's not available in the U.S. given all the papers on the importance of riba dosing.
From what I've read, weight-based riba dosing seems somewhat primitive compared to basing riba dose on constantly monitored serum riba level like the Lindahl group did in the Sweedish Pilot study.
My guess is that most of the resources are now focused on the newer and sexier drugs as opposed to tweaking what already exists. I'm certainly no fan of SOC -- esp the interferon part -- but I think many SVRs have been lost in those who really needed those SVRs, because of the underdosing of ribavirin. BTW glad to see you still posting after that little commotion below.
The reason I keep suggesting that your doc contact the Lindahl group is because that Pilot study is getting "old" (at least in HCV research years) and I haven't seen much published by them since directly relating to higher dose ribavirin (HDR).
I would want to know if they have more current data from a larger group, as well as if they've had success with HDR later in treatment, and if so, what doses they used, how long they extended treatment, and what SVR rates are they getting. You might also ask them if they are working with any U.S. doctors and/or know of a good HPLC lab here.
The way you feel about IFN is the way I feel about riba. If Cruel is in week 25 (?) and planning to extend (think he mentioned that a while back) then maybe he's not so late in tx. I just know that I wouldn't touch this plan with a 10 foot syringe. The effects of riba, while on tx, scare me. I must be at least partially copus mentus.
You are in the 'induction trial' and takeing higher doses of riba (think it was 1600, or so). Are they doing any 'special', other than cbc's to monitor your blood stuff?