You have completed Stages 1 and 2 of your treatment program. This means you have finished the first three months of treatment for your hepatitis C. Great job! You deserve credit for keeping a positive attitude, and for making changes in your daily activities to stay on schedule with your medications.
You have also done a good job of coming back to the clinic for follow-up appointments. Keep up the good work.
Now that you have taken the medications for 3 months, you know exactly what to expect from them. Please talk to your healthcare provider today about any side effects you may be having. Your body may still need some time to get used to the medications, so it will be important to continue taking them exactly as prescribed unless told otherwise by your healthcare provider. This means that you should NOT skip or miss any doses of your medication. If you miss an injection, call your healthcare provider for further instructions, and do not take double doses of the medication.
Looking at how far you have come will help as you prepare yourself for the next phase of the study. We'll call this next phase Stage 3, or the BLOCKING stage. It will last for the next 3 months. During the BLOCKING stage, you will continue to take your medications as directed, with the same goal we've had since you began the study. The goal is to block the virus from multiplying, and remove it completely from your blood. Removing the virus from the blood is sometimes called, "clearing the virus."
Most people who clear the virus from their blood will go on to other improvements in their liver such as less inflammation, and less liver damage over time. If your body responds to the combination therapy, your liver disease will likely be slowed down or even stopped, and you may avoid many of the long-term health problems that the hepatitis C virus can cause when it is not treated.
For these reasons, it's important to continue to push forward through this stage, with the goal of clearing the virus in mind. Do the best that you can with your treatment -- be sure to exercise, drink lots of fluid, and rest as much as you can.
In 3 months, your healthcare provider will test your blood to see whether your therapy has been successful up to that point. If the treatment is working, your blood will be clear of the virus.
Good luck, and keep up the good work as you begin the BLOCKING stage.