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I believe with any medication you are taking, you will always have some kind of side effects. Some we notice and others we don’t, but it’s important that we are aware of them.
I am now in week six of treatment and while I have experienced some side effects, they are few. It has been great weather in the UK over the past few weeks and for me this has really helped motivate and keep me on track. I feel it is important to consider what time of year you could be starting and finishing therapy and what input this may have upon you.
What is a side effect?
Any effect of a drug, chemical, or other medicine that is in addition to its intended effect, especially an effect that is harmful or unpleasant.
What are the side effects of Viekirax and Exviera?
The drugs in Viekirax and Exviera are generally safe and well tolerated. The most common side effects seen in clinical trials were fatigue, nausea, insomnia, weakness and itching. Ribavirin can cause side-effects including anaemia (low haemoglobin level)
However, it is important to know that not everyone has these particular side effects, and most people do not have severe side effects.
Side effect management
A favorable treatment outcome is associated with your ability to stay on the pre-scribed dose of medication for the entire duration of treatment. In addition, completion of treatment goes hand in hand with good side effect management, this means treating the side effects before they become worse.
Management of side effects has improved over the years and now we have more tolerable medication available. With the right help, most people who start treatment now complete it.
Treatment side effects are usually temporary and should gradually fade away after treatment is completed. This may take weeks or months, very rarely up to a year.
When side effects occur…..
Tell your healthcare team, they are able to help you manage and reduce side effects. This might involve an adjustment of the timing or combination medication dosage or taking additional medications for support over your treatment period.
Tiredness: Take it easy when you can, delegate tasks and don’t take on extra tasks if you can help it.
Dry skin: Use sunscreen when in the sun, try moisturising more often, some over the counter and prescription creams may help you.
Headaches: Drink lots of water and a daily 20 minute walk to get some fresh air. I have found massage and acupuncture is helping me to relax me during my treatment.
Appetite loss: Eat small amounts regularly, snack through the day for example nuts, berries and fruit. Ginger tea may help to settle your stomach. Look at ways to help your digestion system. Always eat food when taking your medications, even if is a small snack of some kind. I was made aware by my nurse that on this present treatment I am not able to take vitamins, so it always good to speak with you healthcare team before taking any supplements for any drug interactions which may occur.
Mood changes: Speak with family and friends and your healthcare team, who are able to support you. Moderate exercise like running has also helped me to stay focused.
Insomnia: I find regular sleep patterns have helped. If I am tired in the day, I have had short naps. Maybe a warm bath before bed could help some people. Before bed try to avoid food and drinks which may contain stimulants like tea and coffee and high sugar items.
Dry mouth: Drinks lots of water through the day. I have found having chilled bottled water with me through the day or next to my bed has helped.
Brain Fog: Make daily notes, keep a diary which you are able to share with you healthcare team or you are able to reflect on your treatment journey. Write down questions you may have. Don’t put too much stress on yourself if you can help it. Finally talk to someone before making important decisions while on treatment.
Reporting of side effects
It really is important to talk to your healthcare team about what side affects you may be experiencing. You are able to learn more about side effects from the patient information leaflet which comes with your mediation. You are also able to report side effects via the Yellow Card Scheme