for Veterans and the Public
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I had a bad reaction to interferon years ago. Is it worth taking it again?
Interferon has many potential side effects, and anyone who takes it will have some side effects. However, the severity of the effects will vary from patient to patient.
In general, the side effects will be similar whether a patient takes standard interferon or pegylated interferon. And, because the new drugs for treating hepatitis C--telaprevir and boceprevir--must be taken with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, this so-called triple therapy will likely cause side effects as well.
Patients who did not tolerate interferon in the past might have the same, or even worse, side effects with these new treatments. Be sure to speak to your health care provider about your previous experience with interferon when deciding whether to get treated again.
On the plus side, patients often learn ways to cope with interferon side effects the first time they take the medication, so they're better prepared to deal with them the second time around.