This week’s book excerpt is adapted from my first book, Free from Hepatitis C. This selection was adapted from chapter 4, How to Prepare for and Begin Hepatitis C Treatment.”
Hepatitis C drugs must be taken in certain doses and at certain times—a fact that makes organization critical to success. This is particularly true of the newest hepatitis C drugs (direct-acting antivirals), which carry the risk of creating drug resistant hepatitis C variants when not taken as directed. Treatment may consist of injecting peginterferon once a week, swallowing ribavirin pills twice a day, and taking antiviral pills on a regular basis. Advising you to follow your prescriptions may seem obvious and unnecessary, but side effects such as fatigue and insomnia can lead to forgetfulness, which sets the stage for a missed dose or two. As a nurse, I was able to keep track of complicated drug regimens for my patients, but would occasionally neglect my own. I knew that my chance of beating hepatitis C depended on my dedication to therapy, so I discovered ways to keep myself on track.
While undergoing treatment, it is best to maintain a routine in connection with your medication. For example, I took my pills with breakfast and dinner. Thankfully, there are a number of helpful tools that can keep you on a schedule. Do yourself a favor and use a:
- calendar to keep track of your injections, appointments, and side effects.
- free online service to send yourself email medical reminders or notes of encouragement.
- small notepad to jot down thoughts you’d like to discuss with your medical provider.
- weekly pill organizer. One may come with your starter kit. The best organizers have two compartments per day, for morning and evening doses.
- a smart phone.