Avoiding Pitfalls in Hepatitis Diagnosis and Treatment

How to Avoid Side Effects of Hepatitis Treatment

The prospect of curing hepatitis completely is an absolute must, not only for advancement in the medical field, but also for the benefit of patients the world over. The common denominator of almost every medical treatment, however, is the emergence of different side-effects that come after it. If you are a hepatitis patient, you would probably like to be healed, even if there are a number of perils that may threaten your health.

This is true especially when the situation is “now or never.” However, the drawback after curing the hepatitis is the side-effects of your prescription drugs. Can the pitfalls of the hepatitis curing procedures be avoided? If they can, what are the practical ways to steer clear of them?

Hepatitis Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis (in medical points of view) is the process of identifying the nature of a particular illness by examining one’s health condition along with the symptoms that the body manifests. Once a certain negative health issue is determined, it usually leads to its treatment.

Supervision of this liver disease comes in various forms. The basic method is typically a shot of interferon and other drugs. Newer medicines such as Solvadi and Olysio have also been determined to cure many sufferers in a shorter period of time.

Naturally, interferons are proteins produced by the cells in the immune system.

There are three foremost classes of these substances: alpha, beta, and gamma. Interferons regulate the immune system’s reaction against viruses, bacteria, and other substances that are injurious to the organs, particularly the liver. Studies explain that these substances don’t actually kill the viruses, but rather boost the antibodies’ response and tail off the severity of infection by moderating the functions of certain genes concerned with the production of proteins.


The Pitfalls of Hepatitis Diagnosis and Treatment

Of course, the ultimate goal of every kind of clinical treatment is the restoration of the damaged or affected area in the human body. In many hepatitis cases, interferons are proven to be of help, which is why it is the most typical form of cure. As helpful as it may be, though, it also has undesirable effects on the person being cured just like any other treatment. Listed below are common pitfalls of such treatments:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Malaise
  • Muscle aches
  • Body pains
  • Fatigue
  • Change in taste
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Mouth sores and drying of the mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Drying of skin and rashes
  • Cough
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety, irritability, and depression
  • Insomnia

Practical Steps in Avoiding these Pitfalls

For flu-like symptoms, including fatigue:

  • Pain relievers as advised by the doctor
  • Warm compress and massing of painful muscles
  • Getting the Interferon injection at bedtime, so the patient may sleep off the effects
  • When there is fever, a tepid sponge bath is recommended
  • Drink more clear fluids
  • Rest whenever possible
  • Modify your work schedule
  • Perform more low-impact activities, such as walking, rather than high-impact activities

For unexpected changes in taste and appetite:

  • Frequent brushing of teeth, especially after meals
  • Replace metal utensils with plastic ones to reduce the taste
  • Use lemon wedges or drops
  • Eat a little yogurt or dark chocolate 30 minutes ahead of a meal
  • Encourage the patient to eat more whenever he feels hungry
  • If the patient loses appetite for the entire day, he must occasionally eat small and frequent meals

For vomiting and nausea, and diarrhea:

  • Stay away from foods or smells which trigger nausea
  • Refrain from eating sweet, highly acidic, greasy, or spicy foods
  • Drink ginger ale or tea
  • Mix ribavirin with the food
  • Enjoy a fiber-rich diet
  • More fluids

For mouth sores and drying of the mouth:

  • Avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol
  • Suck (don’t chew) on ice chips
  • Use a soft toothbrush
  • Take topical medication, provided it’s recommended by your physician

For substantial hair loss:

  • Reduce washing of the hair
  • Hairbrush must have soft bristles, while combs should be wide-toothed
  • Avoid hair styles with strong pulls on roots, such as tight braids and pony tails
  • Don’t use harsh hair products (straighteners, dyes, or perms) 

For anxiety, irritability, depression, and insomnia:

  • Seek help from peers, family, and professional stress therapists
  • Anti-depressant drugs may be taken as long as it is prescribed by the doctor
  • Do some relaxation techniques (massage, reading, listening to a music, warm baths, and meditation)
  • Reduce fluid intake before bedtime. This eases toileting urges throughout the night.

The aforementioned drawbacks may not be wholly separated from the treatment for hepatitis, but the good thing is that there are also several ways by which they can be avoided, or at least handled. Using the above recommendations, you’ll let yourself or your loved ones duck unwanted effects of therapy.   


Ollendorf DA, Tice JA, Pearson SD. The comparative clinical effectiveness and value of simeprevir and sofosbuvir for chronic hepatitis C virus infection. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Jul;174(7):1170-1.

Manns MP, Wedemeyer H, Cornberg M. Treating viral hepatitis C: efficacy, side effects, and complications. Gut. 2006 Sep;55(9):1350-9.

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