Hepatitis C Main Forums > Considering Hepatitis C Treatment

No longer in denial!


Thanks to a scummy boyfriend and a bad decision to share needles in my early 20's, I was diagnosed with Hep C over 20 years ago when donating blood - luckily no HIV. I made a brief attempt to seek treatment about 15 years ago, but the process was just too hard as a working mother of twins. I'm now 61, my Dr has noticed my high liver count and he requested a fatty liver scan, so it's all gonna come out. You can tell, no doubt, I feel rather ashamed of my youthful actions!
Luckily my iPad browsing today led me to the discovery of a new, simpler treatment, so I'm going to "fess up" to my doctor tomorrow and see if I can clear this virus before serious liver damage occurs.
I guess I'm looking for some advice here from people who've been through it - is the new treatment as straightforward as it appears? Any side effects?
Other meds: I am currently taking Duromine (Phentermine) as I gained a lot of weight due to thyroid imbalance/menopause. I've lost 15kg since October and really want to stay on it to lose the last 6-7 kilos. Also on Eutroxsig to keep my thyroid at the right levels. I can't see any contra-indications for these drugs, but would like to be sure...
I'd appreciate any advice - and support to finally take action!!

Lynn K:
Hi and welcome

I was diagnosed with hep c back in 1990 when I donated blood. I likely was infected in 1978 when I was 20 and tried IV drugs all of 3 times. I’m not going to second guess my young self it was the days and the times and was my choice. Sure if I could go back in time I might tell my young self of the cost of those wild times but really I doubt I would have listened anyway. It’s in the past and cannot be undone so no point in beating ourselves up over what can’t be changed. Everyone has a past and have done something they wish they had not. How we contracted hep c is ours nothing more.

There have been many people who have no idea how they contracted hep c so unless you feel the need you don’t have to confess to your doctor your suspicions of how you became infected especially if that is not a part of your life today.

I treated 3 times in the past with the old interferon based treatments but I had no response to treatment. Over my 37 years of infection I was having liver biopsies every three years after I was diagnosed. After I was infected for 30 years I was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in January 2008.

Finally, the new DAA treatments were beginning to be approved in 2014 when I had cirrhosis for 6 years at that time. I treated with Sovaldi and a different med called Olysio they were the earliest ones approved. Unfortunately when I was tested 12 weeks after finishing treatment I was found to have relapsed. Harvoni was approved the next month in October 2014 so I started a 24 week treatment with Harvoni and after I talked to my doctor we decided to add ribavirin (one of the older meds) to my treatment so I took ribavirin for 15 of those 24 weeks. That treatment worked and I’ve been free of hep c ever since then finishing treatment in May 2015.

For me especially when compared with my 3 treatments with interferon for 6 months duration each these new DAA treatments were a cake walk I almost felt guilty being cured so easily with all I had been through I felt I should need to suffer to finally be cured of hep c the new meds were almost too easy.

Most people tolerate treatment very well with the most common reported side effect being mild occasional headaches that seem to be warded off by staying properly hydrated. The old 8 each 8 ounce glasses of fluids we all should be drinking anyway.

As far as taking other meds I recommend discussing this with your doctor who will be treating your hep c. Most of us avoided taking anything unless we had to take them especially as treatment is so short for most at 12 weeks and in some cases could be 8 weeks. The clinical trials couldn’t possible guess at all the meds both prescription and OTC that patients might be taking so most just decide to forgo just to avoid any possible interference with our so important hep c treatment and cure. So that’s my 2 cents about taking additional drugs. Talk it over with your doctor and go from there.

Anyway yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a dream, all we really have is today.

Good luck

As you most likely know already it is common to have thyroid problems associated as an extra-hepatic manifestation of HCV infection. I have been on levothyroxine with no problems since 1991 two years before I was diagnosed with HCV.

What you need to discuss with your doctor is which of the new treatments to take. With Harvoni it is important to maintain a more acidic stomach and antacids are a no no. There are many more options now than Harvoni so it is very important to check them out and familiarize yourself with the differences between the treatments. They are all very simple treatments that are taken by mouth and the only exceptions are for certain genotypes or sub genotypes of HCV that require the addition of other drugs like Ribaviron. None of the new DAA HCV treatment programs include the use of interferon so things have really come a long way.

One problem that I did have with levothyroxine was taking the med with a meal. It seems that taking the thyroid pill with food can reduce the effectiveness and sure enough when I did take it before eating for a few years my TSH levels increased. But now that I take it on an empty stomach and wait a few hours before eating I have had no more trouble with a spike in TSH.

So for me taking Harvoni in the morning on an empty stomach with my thyroid med worked fine. Other DAA medicines require that you eat a full with the pills, so it is imperative that you discuss in detail which treatment you take with your doctor.

Apart from that keeping very well hydrated ,as Lynn said during treatment. This is because your renal and digestive functions during treatment are crucial in helping the system to discharge the byproducts of the effects of treatment. Liver cells that are heavily infected will die more quickly and be recycled and the waste byproducts and inert virus particles will be discharged much faster during treatment.

Exercise, diet, hydration, when you take the meds and with what are all very important considerations so the more you prepare the better. Apart from that some people do have myalgia, arthritic symptoms and other side effects taking a DAA but by far most who are treated experience none or mild side effects like mild headache.

All the best getting treated and cured.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version