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9364515 tn?1403330662

treatment side effects, Solvaldi, Interferon, Ribavirin

Hi all,
I will begin my first 12 week treatment of Solvaldi, Interferon, Ribavirin   once everything is approved. I currently have geno 1a and work full time in a theatre where it's dark, loud and fast paced with two days off per week, tues/weds..
I am currently being treated for depression with Viibryd 40mg per day and on fmla while away from work. This usually happens once every 2 or 3 years and last from 3 to 12 weeks.
After I get passed the depression I will begin the treatment for hep c.
My question concerns the side effects of the treatment. I worry that I will be in a greater depression (suicidal, bad thoughts, etc) than I am accustomed to and once again will need to use fmla which for this year I am already half used up.
Can anyone tell me of their experiences with this treatment and how their quality of life was effected? My doctor says everyone on treatment can work and all have minimal side effects but I'm a skeptic. The fear of not being able to work and then possibly loosing my job worries me terribly.
Thank you so much for your time and reading my post.
jack
7 Responses
Avatar universal
I am GT1b, and one week post triple tx with Sov+RBV+Peg. I have a history of mild unmedicated depression and took a daily 40mg of Celexa for 30 days prior and throughout tx. I took my interferon shots at the end of my last day of work for the week just in case sx were difficult, though they rarely affected me significantly.

Tx was not fun, but it was manageable. My job is less physically active than yours sounds, but mentally active and sometimes stressful. I was able to go to work throughout my tx but was at times pretty uncomfortable and very tired by end of day. I did leave work early some days due to fatigue and irritability. Side effects for me included mainly fatigue, brain fog, headaches, and irritability. Toward the end of tx I had mild rashes, muscle aches, and abdominal cramps.

I found that drinking lots of water was critical. I cannot stress this too much. I also found that eating good foods regularly in small helpings greatly helped improve my ability to work. I avoided sugars and other processed foods (such as white bread and etc) as much as possible. I ate proteins throughout the day such as almonds or an occasional cup of whole milk with a teaspoon of quality protein powder which helped some with energy. Lots of fresh organic vegetables. Staying as active as I can helped tremendously. I walked when I could and took stairs instead of elevators (even if I was slow due to shortness of breath from tx), etc. I have a good friend who is a talented RN who helped me make sense of what was going on and develop a response plan. Again, it was not always easy, but it was manageable. There are a lot of knowledgeable and compassionate people on this forum who will typically share their experiences and understanding freely. Among everyone here, I am sure you will find good support and increased knowledge to help you through.

Getting rid of this virus and ending the damage it was doing to my body had been and continues to be my top priority. Knowing that I was progressing toward that goal every day helped keep me focused and motivated. Trying to maintain a positive attitude is imperative. I hope this helps.

Best wishes that you and all of us suffering from Hep C attain SVR !
9364515 tn?1403330662
Thanks jp. What you have said relieves me very much. I totally agree about being positive and I appreciate very much you sharing your symptoms with me while on treatment. It has helped to put my mind at rest about side effects more than you know.
I wish you success with your treatment as I do to all.
  Be well my friend.
jack
Avatar universal
Hi there.

I have genotype 1a and am 2 days into week 6 of treatment.  I have had intermittent bouts of anxiety for years and this is tx round 3 for me.  Last time and this time I started Celexa 30 days before I started treatment.  

I find that my emotions seem to swing from euphoric to low and it can happen within minutes!  The good part is is that I have learned to accept that it is the medication causing this roller coaster and it will pass.  Having good support and the ability to verbalize feelings and express the emotions is so important.  Do you have a family member or friend who can act as your Navigator on this journey?  Rely on them to help you walk this fight.  If you need help from others who know precisely what treatment feels like, lean on us!    

This treatment is a bit rough at times, but I can work, spend time with family and friends and still smile!  I find I feel more blessed and grateful knowing I am fighting this dragon and not giving in to its wishes.  It gives me power.

Like jpfitzer said, water water water!  Walking and light exercise does help, even if it's for brief periods of time.  Above all, remember- one revolution at a time....one day at a time!

Hoping we slay the dragon for good!  
:)
Avatar universal
As you will see, I always have a follow up blurb- I blame it on interferon fog. ;)

I work I a hospital and am on the go all day long.  I do find I have to stop and rest, even for a few minutes and drink water.  I also find if I get too hungry I get a bit nauseated.  Eating enough with the ribavirin seems to help too.

Ok, I will stop now.  
Take care,
Sue
9364515 tn?1403330662
Hi Sue and thanks for your reply. You give me a lot of encouragement knowing that you work at a hospital where I know it must be taxing to you.

I was taking celexa for over 3 years with increasing dosages each time I got depressed which eventually lead to me having side effects for the drug itself. My memory was so bad I could hardly remember much past one day. I went as far as having a brain scan knowing it had to be something besides depression. It was my wife who figured it all out so then I was switched to Viibryd which has worked great for 3 years, until now..

My wife is my support. I'd  probably feel lost, forgotten and helpless without her. She has always supported me with grace, compassion, research and healthy food. She makes me feel special 24/7. Words can't express how lucky she makes me feel. Thanks to her and now you and jpfitzer and other post I have read I feel my support team has grown 10 fold.  I hope one day I can give support and encouragement to others as you are doing.

Can I ask you how you deal with your privacy at work. Do you let your co-workers or supervisors  know of your condition? I guess that depends on how close you are to them. Most of my co-workers know I have hep c but I fear telling them all about me going on treatment for fear that some may think I want special treatment or need to be accommodated. Or that if I makes mistakes it will be blamed on the treatments and that I may be asked to go home. As you can see I worry a lot about my job just as much as treatment but I guess everyone does.

It seems there are so many people who have much less to work with than I do and my heart goes out to them. I think a healthy and supportive environment is the best thing we humans have going for us no matter what your situation.  I hope this forum helps them not feel so alone.

I keep re-reading your post to me and each time I do I feel better about everything.

I wish you well and look forward to hearing more from you as your treatment progresses. You sound like a strong and happy person with no doubts about what you are doing. Those around you must be proud of you.

thanks again, jack
Avatar universal
I don't work, so what affect the treatment would have on me at work, I can't answer it.  I have done many treatments in the past and I just started the treatment that you're getting ready to start.  I started just the pills portion of it, last Wed. 6/18 and I will take the first Peg shot tomorrow night (Mon. nights).  So, it's the same treatment, just a 5 day lead in on the pills.    In all of my past treatments, drinking the water is very important. All of my other treatments (except one clinical trial I was in that didn't include Ribavirin)- I was on the Interferon and Ribavirin.  I have more side effects from antidepressants than I do from being depressed, so for me, I do better w/o them.  I am a firm believer with exercise.  It helps alot of things including depression.  Exercise doesn't have to be the same cookie cutter work-out routine for every person.  Some people may prefer to swim.  Others may enjoy walking outside.  Still other prefer to take an exercise class.  I have a treadmill and a stationary bike here at home.  But, I also have a gym membership and most of my social life is at the gym.  I have so many friends that that I enjoy seeing.  It makes me feel better when I make myself work-out.  Some days, I wake up and feel horrible and when I force myself to move, do that walk on the treadmill, get out of the house, run my vacuum cleaner, anything it takes just to get moving and then, I start feeling better.  I can't do the walking outside because I can't get in the sun, do to a skin disorder.  I'm not super rigid on diet as far as only eating vegan, or only eating vegetables and fruits.  If I want something to eat, I eat it, but just not in excess.  I do incorporate a lot of fruit and vegetables in my diet anyway, just because it's healthy.  But, if I want a steak, I'm going to eat a steak.  If I want a bowl of ice cream, I'll eat the ice cream.  With that being said, I have no weight problems, no diabetes, no high blood pressure, and a cholesterol within normal limits.  I avoid spicy foods, and most of the time don't eat fried foods either.  I have found that I feel a lot better if I avoid eating a huge meal.  There's something about pigging out that gives me a horrible stomach ate, so I try to eat healthy snacks and smaller amounts like jpfitzer above.  I drink no alcohol. Don't smoke, etc. I've also found that I have to listen to my body.  If I'm feeling tired - like I've been hit by a bus - I stop everything and rest.  I hope all these things help.  I wish you and me SVR.  Susan400
Avatar universal
I'm glad you found the right meds for your depression.  I'm also thrilled you have a supportive wife and partner.  My husband has battled depression similar to yours and had the same type of memory loss during his dark periods.  We have developed a stronger and deeper relationship walking through our life together.  We are so blessed, aren't we?

I shared my diagnosis with a few close coworker/friends.  It helps to have encouragement during some of those tricky moments!  I didn't share with a lot of them for the same reasons as your concerns.  I find I can hold together pretty good most of the time.  Sometimes though, I lose my train of thought and feel like an idiot.  Then I think, oh well, what the heck!  I've always considered myself somewhat of a goofy gal anyway!  I do find that while on treatment and even just knowing I have Hep C that my compassion and tolerance for others has grown tenfold.  I think that's a gift we are given when we fight for health and wellness.  

Thank you for your kind words.  I was crushed after having to stop treatment with Victrelis, ribavirin and Interferon last time.  It took me a good year and a half to recover emotionally and physically.  I am approaching this treatment as "helping" my liver, regardless of the outcome.  Truthfully, I can get myself scared out of my mind, but then come back to the "One revolution at a time" mantra.  I relearn everyday that I cannot control the outcome, only my actions and reactions.  So I'm striving to count my blessings and be happy as much as I can. I still allow some pity party time... It's part of the process.  :)
I am so grateful for my fellow dragons layers on this journey.  We will stand together to beat this virus!  Thank you for your support!  
Keep in touch!

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