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HCV Combination Therapy: Who Should Not Use It?

Some people should not use peginterferon or ribavirin. For example, pregnant women should avoid ribavirin, as it can damage the unborn baby. People with depression or a recent history of drug and alcohol abuse should also avoid therapy with peginterferon or ribavirin. Though HCV combination therapy appears to have very few interactions with food or other drugs, anyone who has had allergic reactions to medications in the past should notify their healthcare provider before treatment begins.

Who Cannot Use Peginterferon and Ribavirin?

There are a few things to be aware of when taking peginterferon and ribavirin combination therapy.
Women who are pregnant should not take combination therapy. Pregnant women should not even touch ribavirin, because it can damage or even kill the unborn baby. If you are a woman, you must be tested to make sure you are not pregnant before you start combination therapy. You will also need to be tested each month that you are on the therapy, and for 6 months after you have finished the treatment. If at any time during your treatment you think you may be pregnant, be sure to tell your healthcare providers immediately.
For men, sperm can be damaged by ribavirin. Because of this, both men and women should be sure to use two forms of birth control while on the therapy and for 6 months after finishing treatment.
People with a history of severe depression, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, or drug or alcohol abuse in the past 6 months should not take combination therapy. Also, you will be asked not to drink alcoholic beverages while you are on combination therapy, or for at least 6 months after you finish the treatment program. Avoiding alcohol completely -- even after the treatment -- is highly recommended.

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