Well, looks like getting on here every 3-4 days is going to be my norm.

Today was a drag; I have no energy and I’m not even on treatment yet! Fatigue is the most common complaint of Hep C positive individuals. I’m hoping that WHEN I clear the virus my energy level will rise, although there are no studies on this.

Here’s the skinny on treatment:

The tried and true treatment up until just a few weeks ago (referred to as Standard of Care, or SOC) was a weekly injection of pegylated interferon (either PEG Intron or Pegasys) and three times daily doses (via pills) of ribavirin. Now, with the FDA approval of protease inhibitors telaprevir (Incivek) and boceprevir (Victrelis) the SOC is still used, but with the addition of one of these drugs (also taken orally).

I will be taking telaprevir. With this drug, there is a 79  percent chance of Sustained Virological Response (SVR–the absence of HCV in your blood six months post treatment. Most people consider this a cure).  This treatment ain’t easy folks, but it is worth it. Unfortunately the new treatment only works on genotype 1, not the others; however, if you are a geno 2 or 3, don’t despair! Your genotype has a MUCH higher rate of SVR with the current standard of care, and new drugs are in the works for you folks. For some unknown reason though, African Americans are more resistant to treatment. You will need to weigh the risks vs the benefits of treatment with your doctor.

Interferon and ribavirin have some side effects. The most common are flu-like symptoms and fatigue. The 24 hours following your weekly injection of interferon are usually the worst as far as nausea goes. Itchiness (pruritis) is common. These symptoms are exacerbated by the telaprevir–both riba and tela cause rashes, sometimes bad enough to cause discontinuation of treatment. The other big thing to watch are your blood counts, as these meds lower the number of red and white blood cells your body makes. This symptom can be treated with neupogen, procrit, and epogen to raise these numbers if they get too low. Low RBC count may make you feel tired and short of breath. Keep your doctor informed of your side effects–there is no reason to suffer needlessly!

IF you have a drinking problem, you will have to be sober for 6 months before any legit doctor will consent to treat you. Otherwise, there is NO POINT in treating–aside from the fact that you are heaping more abuse on your poor liver, alcohol vastly reduces the effectiveness of the medications. Trust me, no judgement here–this is what your doc will tell you. Don’t waste your time, well being, and money by drinking on treatment.

Ok that’s all for tonight. I imagine these posts will become more illuminating as I actually start the treatment (hopefully in the next 2-3 weeks) and start writing about how it effects me. Goodnight all!