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Easing the discomfort of interferon - a patient's perspective

Here are some things that I found really helped. Most people take INF before bed. I too found this to be the best time.

1) Eat as large a meal as possible b4 taking the shot. A full tummy helps quite a bit. Others I know have found the same.

2) The most common symptom for me was an extremely restless sleep. If I ate lots this helped but even with a large meal prior to the INF I still had problems sleeping. When this occurred I would take Neo Citran and have a hot bath. This seemed to work.

3) Take a tylenol b4 the shot and one in the morning.

4) Sleep with a large pitcher of ice water at the bedside. This helps a great deal.

5) Start out with a low dose on the first day or two. For instance if you are to be on 3 million units I would start with 1 mill, then 2 mill and then 3. The reason is that I thought I was going to die from the Interferon on the first night. The chills and shaking were severe.

6) Bundle up well for the first couple of nights. I would recommend long underwear and a sweatsuit over top. Many people initially get severe chills.

7) Be wary of infections. They are not unusual for people on Interferon.

8) Anitdepressants. I asked a psychologist about Interferon and depression. The person in question is an expert in treating patients that are ill or undergoing drug therapy with severe side effects. He told me that he did not believe that Interferon caused clinical depression. He said that clinical depression is a biochemical brain condition and that there was no proof whatsoever that Interferon caused it. What he point out is that Interferon caused symptoms that were very similar to depression and that in patients with no previous history of depression that antidepressants had no more effect than placebos. I had debated an antidepressant but decided against it. If you remind yourself that it is Interferon that is making you feel bad and not "true" depression it makes it a l;ot easier to deal with. Be careful with antidepressants. There is mounting evidence that SSRIs may well cause permanent biochemical changes.

9) The fat around the stomach area is the best area for injection. It is painless and never leaves bruising or discomfort.

Contributed by jfiror@imag.net

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