Coping with side consequences of hepatitis C medication

For these with continual hepatitis C, the outlook has never been superior. Continue to, quite a few cure regimens contain medication with side consequences that have an impact on your good quality of life. In this article are some tips for coping.

By Mayo Clinic Team

Several folks who get started cure for continual hepatitis C never make it as a result of the overall program of treatment because of side consequences. New antiviral medication are changing difficult-to-tolerate drugs — peginterferon alfa and ribavirin — that had been, till not too long ago, the backbone of hepatitis C cure. Even so, peginterferon alfa and ribavirin are likely to remain in use in components of the entire world with constrained health care resources.

The new anti-hepatitis C medication also have disagreeable side consequences, including flu-like signs and symptoms very similar to these affecting most folks on peginterferon alfa and ribavirin. These side consequences ordinarily are not extreme adequate to direct to stopping cure, but they could erode good quality of life. The good thing is, you can consider steps to reduce the impact of hepatitis C cure side consequences. In this article are some tips for managing the most prevalent ones.


Feeling weary and run-down is the most prevalent side result of both of those interferon-centered and interferon-totally free treatment plans. To avoid exhaustion or restrict its impact, try out:

  • Scheduling interferon injections for times when you can consider it easy — at the get started of a weekend, for case in point
  • Cutting again on function several hours, if attainable
  • Napping all through the working day
  • Taking a wander on most times to increase your alertness and endorse superior slumber
  • Ingesting a caffeinated beverage in the early morning
  • Considering antidepressant treatment if despair could be contributing to your exhaustion

Flu-like signs and symptoms

Headache and muscle mass aches — ordinarily accompanied by exhaustion — are prevalent side consequences of hepatitis C drugs. You can cope with these indications and signs and symptoms by:

  • Taking an in excess of-the-counter treatment such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, other folks) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, other folks) prior to each and every injection and as desired whilst the signs and symptoms past — if your physician claims it really is safe for you
  • Offering your self peginterferon alfa injections, which a member of your treatment team can ordinarily exhibit you how to do, shortly prior to bedtime
  • Ingesting plenty of fluids
  • Acquiring adequate rest
  • Staying away from solid daylight and vibrant indoor lights to reduce headache
  • Applying heat, moist heat on achy muscle tissue

Lung problems

Cough is a prevalent respiratory side result of hepatitis C cure. Shortness of breath also could produce, as could airway and lung infections. See your physician if you frequently feel out of breath or if you have a fever and a deep cough that makes thick sputum. To control a cough:

  • Consume plenty of fluids throughout the working day
  • Use a humidifier
  • Use sugar-totally free difficult candy or cough drops to soothe a scratchy throat

Temper changes

Hepatitis C cure, especially with peginterferon alfa, can induce despair, temper swings and irritability. These side consequences are not trivial, especially for folks who have a heritage of mental health and fitness problems. Strategies for coping with despair involve:

  • Anticipating attainable mental health and fitness side consequences prior to commencing cure and discussing them with your physician so that you can expect to know what to do if they arise
  • Taking an antidepressant throughout cure and for a few months after cure
  • Staying away from caffeine if you happen to be sensation nervous or irritable
  • Taking standard walks or heading to a gymnasium routinely for mild exercise
  • Cutting down your dose of peginterferon alfa under your doctor’s supervision
  • Conversing to your physician or a mental health and fitness qualified quickly if you feel like you might hurt your self or an individual else

Skin problems

The more mature hepatitis C medication from time to time induce dry pores and skin, itching and a rash activated by daylight. Hair decline also could arise, but the hair ordinarily grows again after cure. Secure your pores and skin and hair by:

  • Bathing and showering in heat (not scorching) water
  • Applying plenty of moisturizing lotion or cream to your pores and skin after you shower or bathe
  • Putting on sunscreen prior to heading exterior
  • Applying mild, unscented laundry detergent and staying away from fabric softener
  • Rubbing or urgent on itchy pores and skin as a substitute of scratching
  • Applying mild shampoo and gentle styling procedures
  • Staying away from hair dye and chemical processing till after cure
  • Switching to a satin pillow case to reduce friction on your scalp

Slumber problems

Issues falling or being asleep (insomnia) could be a end result of temper problems triggered by peginterferon alfa, most likely worsening despair and anxiousness. Insomnia is also a side result of ribavirin, as very well as of the new mixture cure of ledipasvir-sofosbuvir (Harvoni). To get adequate slumber:

  • If you happen to be also remaining addressed for despair, consider an antidepressant that enhances slumber alternatively than a person that will make you notify
  • Adhere to a standard routine of heading to mattress at evening and getting up in the early morning
  • Keep away from reading through and viewing Television in mattress
  • Take ribavirin in the late afternoon
  • Keep away from caffeine
  • Consider not to nap all through the working day
  • Take in a gentle food very well prior to bedtime
  • Restrict the fluid you drink in the two several hours prior to bedtime, so you will never have to go to the bathroom all through the evening
  • Wind down with a recorded leisure exercise, heat tub or massage prior to heading to mattress
  • Take a slumber-endorsing treatment under your doctor’s supervision

Abdomen problems

New antivirals as very well as peginterferon alfa and ribavirin can induce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, appetite decline or a mixture of these side consequences in some folks. Several also complain of a undesirable style in the mouth. In some cases, these side consequences can direct to bodyweight decline. Coping methods involve:

  • Taking ribavirin with foods
  • Having modest meals
  • Having foods chilly or at room temperature so its odor is considerably less intensive
  • Selecting significant-protein treats, such as cheese or peanut butter, if you can tolerate them
  • Attempting protein beverages if reliable foods is unappealing
  • Staying away from spicy or greasy foodstuff
  • Having foodstuff that contain soluble fiber, such as bananas, rice, applesauce and white toast, to minimize diarrhea
  • Staying away from dairy solutions all through and for a number of times after a bout of diarrhea
  • Taking a wander prior to taking in
  • Applying plastic utensils if you have a metallic style in your mouth

Critical side consequences

Some peginterferon alfa and ribavirin side consequences are severe adequate to have to have shut monitoring by your physician. If essential, you could have to reduce your treatment dosage or stop cure fully. These severe side consequences involve:

  • A sharp reduction in pink blood cells (anemia), which is especially perilous for folks with coronary heart ailment or at significant risk of coronary heart ailment
  • Suicidal thoughts and impulses, especially in folks with a heritage of despair, dependancy or both of those
  • A very low stage of clotting cells in your blood (thrombocytopenia), most likely leading to severe bleeding problems, especially in these with liver ailment
  • Eye problems — specifically, abnormalities in the gentle-delicate lining at the again of the eye (retina), especially in folks with diabetic issues or significant blood tension
  • Inflammation of tissue in the air sacs and lining of the lungs (interstitial pneumonitis), which can severely prohibit respiration in a shorter time
  • Amplified or new indications and signs and symptoms of thyroid ailment (hypothyroidism), a condition that can be difficult to distinguish from the most prevalent cure side consequences, such as exhaustion
  • Flares of present autoimmune circumstances, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and psoriasis

Exposure to ribavirin all through being pregnant can induce abnormalities in the acquiring little one. Gals need to have being pregnant exams prior to and periodically all through ribavirin cure. Likewise, gentlemen thinking about ribavirin cure need to consider precautions to avoid exposing their female partners’ unborn little ones to the drug by:

  • Abstaining from sex with any girl who could be expecting
  • Postponing cure till a expecting lover has supplied delivery
  • Applying two varieties of delivery command each and every time they have sex all through cure