Are You Fearful of Hepatitis C Treatment?
Not knowing what to expect from hepatitis C treatment can be scary. Being diagnosed with hepatitis C brings many questions for patients and their families. As a hep C patient, I had many questions regarding hepatitis C treatment.
Common fears and concerns
Many people ask:
- What side effects will I experience?
- Will I be able to work and take care of my family while doing treatment?
- How long will treatment last?
- What tests will I need to do during treatment?
- Will treatment work for me?
How to take the fear out of treatment
I learned that preparing ahead can help take the fear out of hepatitis C treatment. For example:
- Prepare for treatment by making a list of questions. Talk to your doctor and specialty pharmacy.
- Find out what treatment is recommended for you and what are the possible side effects. Ask your doctor if you experience side effects, what is safe for you to take? Ask your doctor how long your treatment will last.
- Purchase over-the-counter medications or prescriptions prior to starting treatment. Have these on hand, just in case they are needed.
- Prepare meals ahead to help you if you are tired or not feeling well.
- Ask friends or family to help run errands for you, if needed.
- Join a support group and talk to others who have done treatment. But remember, every person’s liver condition and treatment experience can be different.
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What to expect when beginning hep C treatment
A great piece of advice that my hepatologist’s nurse told me was to relax and remember that the first week or two of treatment is generally the adjustment phase for the body. Side effects can possibly show up, but will likely ease and get better. This was true for my experience. Fatigue was the most constant side effect I experienced.
Facts about hep C treatment
For improved DAA's (direct-acting antiviral) treatments, the most common side effects are fatigue and headaches. Less common side effects are mild nausea, insomnia, and diarrhea.
Standard treatment length is 8 to 12 weeks. Remember, treatment is a short time compared to the rest of your life. The cure rate for most DAA treatments are over 90 percent. The odds are in your favor. Treatment is the only way you will be able to eliminate the hepatitis C virus from causing further liver damage.
Without treatment, hepatitis C can cause liver damage and impair liver function, putting you at high risk for cirrhosis (severe scarring), liver cancer, and liver transplant. Don’t delay. Seek treatment and get cured. Enjoy a long beautiful life ahead of you my friend.
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