My Personal Interferon Experience


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I took part in a clinical trial conducted by Schering. The study had six arms to it:
  • 6 months of 3 million units Interferon 3 times a week + 1500 mg. Ribaviron daily
  • 6 months of 3 million units Interferon 3 times a week + placebo
  • 12 months of 3 million units Interferon 3 times a week + 1500 mg. Ribaviron daily
  • 12 months of 3 million units Interferon 3 times a week + placebo

None of the participants knows which group they are randomized into until the end of the study. I still don't know whether or not I was getting a placebo, because I'm still in the follow-up stage of treatment. I chose to stop after the first 6 months, because I don't feel as if I was responding. My LFTs (liver function tests) never normalized, and my viral count never went negative. To me, if I hadn't responded in a 6 month period of time, then this is not/was not the right method of treatment for me. And since this was a clinical trial, I didn't have the luxury of playing around with different dosages or injection times.

The injections themselves weren't all that bad. Sometimes I didn't feel the shot at all. I used my tummy for my injection sites, because I got bruises with almost every injection, and the area around the injection got red and inflamed. So since it was summer when I did the treatments, and I wanted to wear short without having to answer a lot of questions as to why my legs were red and bruised, I gave myself the shots in the stomach. I did find that the quicker I slid the needle in, the less it would hurt. Same way with pulling it out. As far as hitting a vein, well, that didn't happen too often, but I definitely knew when I did! It hurt!!

The first shot of Interferon was DEFINITELY a doozy!!!! I believe I experienced every side affect possible during the course of my six month treatment. And although the side affects weren't nearly as bad after the first couple of injections, they never went away for the entire 6 months. Here's a list:

  1. SEVERE muscle cramps
  2. headaches
  3. sweating
  4. depression
  5. vicious mood swings
  6. nausea
  7. fatigue
  8. weakness
  9. lack of concentration
  10. blurry vision
  11. heart skipping beats and palpitations
  12. hair loss (it was really more of a moderate thinning of hair, mostly on top)
  13. insomnia

Most people don't have all these symptoms, and for those who do, the side affects gradually start to go away after a while. So don't let my experiences with Interferon keep you from at least trying it. If the side affects are too bad, you can always stop taking it!! Who knows, INF may be just the thing to help you slay your dragon!!!

Follow this link or this link or this link to read other fellow heppers stories!

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