Side Effects Revisited
Last updated: November 2022
In my work as a peer navigator, I am frequently asked about the side effects of treatment for hep C. It is not something anyone can answer with absolute certainty.
When we read about side effects, we will see the most common listed as part of the drug monographs. These are based on data collected in the clinical trial process, primarily focused on efficacy/ effectiveness at eradicating the virus, and the safety profile, as in determining that the drug or drugs are safe to use.
Taking your hep C diagnosis seriously
It is a numbers game, like so much in our life now. It is, of course, not a game at all, and it is a very serious thing we take on to be free of hep C and the damages it can cause over time.
In terms of what we can expect from any pharmaceutical, it is, again, not absolute or predictable. People tell me they feel better than they have in years of treatment. Granted, this is not the most common experience people share, but it can happen.
The listed and most common side effects are far more likely, but we cannot predict, but we know that most people affected with side effects will see them resolve in time, and they are much less complex than older treatments. As someone who was treated with the old and brutal interferon protocol, these new meds are a wonderful development and not only because the side effects are primarily minor by comparison but the fact that they are much better at stopping the virus in its tracks.
Treatment side effects
The word amazing comes to mind, considering how much easier and more effective newer treatments are.
As I have said, don’t look for side effects because you may or may not experience what you read online or hear from others. My experience was both typical and not, with some well-documented side effects in the first half of treatment followed by some very unusual side effects in the latter half, which were pleasantly much easier.
This was not typical of my peers, and I have met very few who have shared the same or even close to the same. Weird?
This is why I stress that there is no way to predict what side effects you will experience in treatment, and the same can be said about the effects of hep C over time. Some will see a much faster progression of liver fibrosis, while others will not.
Not everything is the same regarding a virus or the treatment, and as we have seen with Covid-19, we see similar differences with hep C.