Community Views: Tips for Starting Treatment for the First Time
Treatment for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has drastically changed in the last decade. Today, hep C treatment usually involves taking 1 daily pill for just a few weeks.
To find out more about starting hep C treatment, we turned to community members on our Facebook page. We asked them: “What tips would you share with someone starting treatment for the first time?”
Here is a look at some of their tried-and-true tips and helpful hints.
Create a system to track when you have taken your pills
Several folks shared that it is key to keep track of when you have taken your pill. Some use a paper calendar and mark off each day after they have taken the pill. A daily alarm on your phone can also work. Or, keep the pills next to something you already do every day, such as walking the dog or brushing your teeth – anything to help you keep track.
“I kept a calendar notebook and checked off each day after I swallowed my pill (I started that because I ended up with a dumped out bottle one day counting pills. You do not want to have to do that.)”
Keeping track of hydration
Drinking plenty of water is important during hep C treatment. Some community members were told by their doctor exactly how much water to drink. In turn, they set themselves up for success by finding ways to track their water intake, whether that was lining up water bottles each day or tracking water via an app or smartwatch.
“Line up 6 bottles of water and make sure they are gone at day’s end. Water is so important during treatment!”
“I drank GALLONS of water.”
Eating a clean diet
To give your body the important nutrients it needs, some community members suggest eating a clean diet during the treatment process. If you can avoid processed foods and other items that stress the liver, then your body can conserve energy toward healing itself.
“I eliminated toxic food and beverages. Do ALL you can to help your body heal!”
Keeping your medical team's contact information close
Several members shared that most treatment side effects are not a cause for concern. However, it can be a good idea to keep your doctor’s phone number handy in case a question arises. Some people suggested taping it on the fridge or saving it in your phone.
“Have your doctor's phone number handy for any medical questions and your pharmacist's number for medical questions.”
Trust the process
Ultimately, what many people did share is that the treatment will most likely work. The best course of action is to relax as much as possible and have faith in the treatment process.
“Have faith in the medication, because it works. I have been cured.”
“The Harvoni will be a cakewalk. You got this.”
We want to say thank you to everyone who offered advice for this story. We are grateful that so many people shared.
Do you experience long-term side effects from hep C treatment?