Neuropathy After Hepatitis C Treatment
Last updated: February 2022
I tried ignoring those needle-like stings and aching bones. It’s hard for me to admit that neuropathy from hepatitis C treatment is a part of my life. Just like many of you, I took long term Interferon and Ribavirin with the protease inhibitors. If you're having problems with hands, legs or feet pain, this blog can provide some help. The symptoms range from feeling a little bee sting on your foot all the way to complete numbness. There are many ways to find relief. I say to try them all in coordination with your doctors advice.
Tips for managing neuropathy after hepatitis C
Work it out
Mild forms of exercise like yoga, walking, or stretching can help. If you are able to gain muscular strength and flexibility, you may have less pain. Try for 30 minutes 3 times a week.
Live a clean lifestyle
Eat clean whole foods with reduced sugar and fat. Get plenty of vegetables and low fat meats. That plus grains and plant based protein can help you get the vitamins and minerals you need.
Stop or cut back on smoking and alcohol
Stopping smoking or drinking alcohol can be tough, especially when managing large life changes like clearing hep C. If you need support, consider joining a group to help build coping skills to deal with addictions.
Protect your feet and hands
What supportive shoes. Use loose gloves and socks. Check for calluses and cuts after bathing. Apply lotion to both feet and hands.
Eat a good diet
Foods that include amino acids, fish oil, Vitamin B12, and alpha lipoid acid have proven benefits. Always ask your doctor before taking a supplement.
Talk to your doctor about prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- There are prescription creams that can be prescribed. Some doctors will offer a special blend that is mixed at a compounding pharmacy.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce pain. If it’s too severe, your doctor may prescribe a prescription pain killer. That should be a last resort for those of us with liver disease. We don’t need to burden our liver or our mental stability with a dependence on opioids.
- Anti-seizure medicine are usually the first line of prescription tried. The ones used to treat epilepsy may also relieve nerve pain. The problems is that it can include side effects like drowsiness and dizziness.
- There is a over the counter cream I have tried called Capsaicin. I began using it post transplant. It’s actually made of hot peppers. It totally worked! My cousin would rub in in and the heat was wonderful. Then there was the day she rubbed her eyes and it got a little wild. She did a little dance and splashed a lot of water!
- Antidepressants are occasionally used to block the chemical messages that is sent to your brain. It is like interrupting the pain.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is also used with a lot of success. It quickly became a fave last year. You put sticky patch electrodes on and it pulses a gentle electric current. I start the day with it and end with it also. It is a miracle.
May be needed if you are unable to walk or move around. You may need to learn how to use a walker or cane.
Legs, hands, and feet pain need to be addressed. Pushing the pain aside can create mental distress. If you have taken long term hepatitis C medicine, work with your doctor about ways to relieve the pain of neuropathy.