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What Is Adherence?

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Presentation: Hepatitis C Adherence To Therapy
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Healthcare providers sometimes use the words "adherence" or "compliance" to mean that a person is taking his or her medication exactly how the nurse, doctor, or pharmacist explained it. People with good adherence stick to their treatment plan by taking their ribavirin pills twice a day, and their peginterferon injection every week.
Your two medications work together to help your body destroy the hepatitis C virus. Because of this, it's important to have good adherence -- taking your medications correctly so that you have enough of each drug in your body at all times.
If you start missing your doses of ribavirin, the peginterferon has to fight the virus on its own. When the peginterferon is alone, it isn't as powerful, and this gives the virus a chance to keep multiplying. In the same way, if you miss an injection of the peginterferon or take it a couple of days late, then the ribavirin isn't as strong and the treatment may be less effective. So it's important that both drugs are in your body all the time.
It's also important that you don't take TOO MUCH of your medications. Just because a certain dose of medicine is effective does NOT mean that taking more will be better. In fact, taking too much medication may make you very sick, and can be harmful to important parts of your body--like your heart, your blood, and even your liver.
The best way to help your body destroy the HCV is to take your medications at the right time and in the right amount -- not too early and not too late, not too little and not too much. When taken as directed, the drugs can work both day and night to help get rid of the hepatitis C virus.
 

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