Viral Hepatitis

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FAQ: What are the side effects of treatment?

for Veterans and the Public

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the side effects of treatment?

There are many possible side effects from HCV treatment--and they do depend on which medication is being taken.

For treatment containing pegylated interferon, most common side effects are:

  • Fatigue--feeling run down and having decreased energy
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, muscle aches and headaches
  • Mood problems such as trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety, and depression
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, change in appetite, diarrhea
  • Skin problems such as loss of hair, dry, itchy, or irritated skin, and rash
  • Blood-related problems such as a low platelet count or a low white blood cell count

For treatment containing ribavirin, most common side effects are:

  • Blood-related problems such as anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Respiratory problems such as shortness of breath and cough
  • Skin problems such as rash and itchy skin

For treatment containing a protease inhibitor (telaprevir or boceprevir), most common side effects are:

  • Blood-related problems such as anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Skin problems such as rash
  • Oral problems such as bad taste in the mouth or mouth ulcers
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and anal discomfort