for Veterans and the Public
Managing side effects
Many people have a difficult time with the side effects of hepatitis C treatment. If you experience any of these side effects, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to give you suggestions on how to deal with the side effects. Your doctor may also suggest prescription drugs to lessen your side effects and make you feel better.
If you feel that taking medicine for the side effects of anxiety, irritability, or depression contradicts your recovery program, speak with your doctor and support people. Some recovering addicts practice total abstinence from drugs that may alter mood or feelings. This may include medicines that your doctor might prescribe for interferon side effects, such as depression, anxiety, or irritability. Taking medicine for these side effects may not be right for you.
Tips for Managing Side Effects
- Talk with your doctor or nurse about whether you would benefit from talking with a social worker, psychologist, or other mental health professional to help you cope with the side effects of your hepatitis C treatment and your recovery.
- Talk openly about your feelings with your sponsor, fellowship, a family member, friend, or someone else you trust.
- Tell people close to you that you are taking medicine to treat hepatitis C that may affect your moods.
- Join a support group for people with liver disease.
- Avoid people, places, or things (called triggers) that can make you feel stressed.
- Try to avoid too much caffeine, sugar, and tobacco.
- Learn ways to relax. Meditate or breathe quietly. Go for a walk or do some other light exercise.
- Take care of your body. Eat healthy meals, get lots of sleep, and drink plenty of water.
Important Note: If you were prescribed medicines for a mental or emotional disorder prior to starting hepatitis C treatment, you should not skip or change the doses of your medicines without speaking with your doctor first.