Understanding Hep C Treatment

Mar 25, 2014
Specialist pharmacists have full visibility into a patient’s prescription history and current regimen to help patients understand their hep C treatment.
  • Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C treatments are evolving. New therapies on the market and in the pipeline offer new choices and options for hepatitis C patients, including those who may have failed therapy previously. These therapies shorten treatment time, have fewer and milder side effects, and higher cure rates. Some of them also work on additional genotypes.

Understanding the Risks and Benefits

However, these therapies still pose challenges – including side effects, risk factors and potential adverse events. The severity can vary from patient to patient and depend on many factors, including other medications and lifestyle. Specially trained pharmacists in the Accredo Therapeutic Resource Center®, like myself, have full visibility into a patient’s prescription history and current regimen, and can help patients understand and deal with side effects and avoid potential risks.

I talk with patients every day about their treatment plan. Some of the things I want them to be aware of include:

Side effects for SovaldiTM include fatigue, headache, nausea, insomnia, and in rare instances, anemia.

OlysioTM can cause side effects such as skin rash, photosensitivity, itching and nausea.

  • Rashes and skin reactions to sunlight can be severe and may need hospitalization.

  • Rashes and skin reactions to sunlight are most common during the first four weeks of treatment, but can happen at any time during treatment with Olysio.

Contraindication for combination therapy include use in women who are pregnant or may become pregnant and men whose female partners are pregnant, because of the risks for birth defects and fetal death associated with ribavirin.

Preventing Adverse Side Effects

There are simple steps patients can take to minimize discomfort from side effects such as photo sensitivity:

Use sunscreen and wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing when you will be exposed to sunlight during treatment

Limit sunlight exposure

Avoid use of tanning beds, sunlamps or other types of light therapy

Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms:

  • Burning, redness, swelling or blisters on your skin
  • Mouth sores or ulcers
  • Red or inflamed eyes such as “pink eye” (conjunctivitis)

For more information talk to your pharmacist.

This inside-the-body walkthrough shows how hep C attacks the body and how medications help the immune system fight off the virus.

Hepatitis C
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