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Gastroenterol Nurs 2001 Jul-Aug;24(4):192-6 Related Articles, Books, LinkOut

Assessment of side effects in patients with chronic hepatitis C receiving combination therapy.

Zucker DM, Miller BW., School of Nursing, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.

The purpose of this descriptive study is to review the adverse effects of combination therapy, interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin, in a sample of patients with chronic hepatitis C who were part of a larger multi-center trial (Bonkovsky, 1999). The sample (n = 13) was drawn from one hepatology practice in the northeastern United States. This secondary analysis reported sums, frequencies, means, and standard deviations for the sample. Patients who received 600 mg ribavirin per day in addition to interferon alfa-2B (Arm A) showed a mean of 9.5 different types of side effects. Patients who received 1000-1200 mg of ribavirin in addition to interferon alfa-2B (Arm B) had a mean of 8.6 different types of side effects.

The highest-ranking side effects were:
fatigue (92%), = (really really tired feeling that rest & naps don't help)
insomnia (85%), = (can't sleep)
alopecia (69%), = (hair loss)
arthralgia (62%). = (all types of arthritis)

A secondary analysis of the entire data set is required before confidence can be placed in the findings. Implications for nursing practice include the need for creative strategies to reduce the effects of fatigue, insomnia, alopecia, and arthralgia in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Source PMID: 11848003

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