Stage 1 was the INFORMATION stage. This was when you found out you had hepatitis C, and decided to volunteer for the Virahep-C study. You watched presentations like this one to learn more about hepatitis, and the medications you would be taking. Your healthcare providers talked with you about your condition, and about what would happen during this study.
You are now in Stage 2, or the ACTION stage. You have been taking peginterferon and ribavirin for a month now. This is called the action stage because with the help of the medicines, your body is working hard to control and hopefully destroy the hepatitis C virus.
Now that you have taken your medications for a month, it's a good time to review some of the key information we discussed when you began the study.
Let's review some of those points.
First, take your medications as directed by your healthcare providers. We have discussed how important it is to take all of your medication. By not missing any doses, you improve your chances of having a successful treatment. A calendar, alarm clock, or family member can all be good reminders to help you take your medications at the right time.
Second, you have probably had some unwanted side effects. Most people who are on combination therapy experience one or more side effects -- this is to be expected because these are very powerful medications. It's also very common for the side effects to be worse during the first month or two of treatment. Try to be patient, because most of the time the side effects get better as your body becomes more used to the medications. Your sense of well-being should improve over the next few months.
Please be sure to let your healthcare provider know about any side effects that you have been experiencing. You and your provider are working as a team throughout your treatment. You can also learn more about side effects a little later in this presentation, as well as some things you can do if side effects do occur.
Third, if you miss an injection of peginterferon, call your healthcare provider.
As you adjust to taking peginterferon and ribavirin, you may find that you forget to take a dose now and then. If you miss an injection, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. He or she will let you know when to take your next dose. Never take a double dose of medication to make up for one you missed.
During the next two months of the ACTION stage, you will continue to push forward and work to overcome any challenges you might face with taking your medication. Making your medications a part of your daily routine will soon become a habit, so keep giving it your best effort!
As Colin Powell has said, "There are no secrets to success?Success is the result of perfection, hard work, and persistence." So be persistent and stick closely to taking your medications as prescribed.