for Veterans and the Public
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I take interferon and ribavirin a second time, if my first course of treatment didn't work?
Getting treated a second time for hepatitis C ("re-treatment") is a possibility for some patients, but not all. Unfortunately, if the treatment didn't work the first time, it's even less likely to work a second time. The only reason to try another course of treatment is if something has changed that would make you more likely to respond to the drugs the second time around.
For example, during your first course of treatment, if your doctor had to lower your dose of ribavirin because you developed anemia (a drop in red blood cells), you may not have gotten enough of the drug to kill the virus. But if you were treated again, you could take a drug called Epoetin to boost your red blood cells so that you could get the full dose of ribavirin--enough to possibly rid your body of the virus completely.
The decision to try another course of treatment is not an easy one to make. It needs to be made only after careful discussion between you and your doctor.