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My doctor wants me to take Pegasus in order to treat my hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The previous medication I was on started causing unusual and difficult side effects (like insomnia and depression), so I’m a bit worried. What are the side effects caused by Pegasus?

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My experience with this drug is appalling. I was normal, healthy person and then I got hepatitis after having unprotected sex. I accepted that, went to see my doctor, had regular checks, took prescribed therapy... I was very positive. So I learnt how to live with my condition during my first three years with hepatitis. And then I had to change my medication and my doctor gave me Pegasus. I was told about side effects such as lactic acidosis (your cells die) manifested in tiredness, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, shortness of breath... I was also told about fever like symptoms such as chills, muscle pain, headaches... Insomnia, difficulties in concentration and clear thinking are also possible. In order to avoid those side effects I followed my doctor’s advice and took Pegasus before my bed time. Three months from the beginning of my therapy I tried to kill myself. Nobody mentioned that side effect. I just felt tired, got sick off all those things I’d been going through for the last four years... Specialist detected serious depression caused by taking Pegasus. It’s been six months from my suicide attempt and I’m feeling much better. No need to say that my doctor took me of Pegasus the moment he found out. As you can see, side effects can literally be lethal sometimes. I don’t want to frighten you, I just want to recommend extreme caution when Pegasus is taken.
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Hi,
I would like to know if anyone can help me. My best friend is due to start the pegasus interfuron tomorrow. I just have a bad feeling. She is pretty ill with the "C", and has a depressive personnality. If she does not take it, she may not have a chance, but I am worried about this pegasus interferon, like I said, I just have a bad feeling, and after reading these postings, I see why. Any advice, ideas? PLEASE.
Thank you.
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I was diagnosed with Hep C in 1989. I have taken 3 different versions of Interferon treatment in the past 12 years with horrible side effects and they have never made any significant impact on the virus. In July of 2007 my RNA count was 26 million which is very high so I began treatment with Pegasus. At week 12 of treatment my viral count was UNDETECTABLE! Praise God. I now have 6 weeks to go and my Doc says if in another 6 months my counts are still undectable he will consider me cured. I know of another patient who started treatment shortly after I did and has had similar results. The side effects are very hard, I lost 20 Lbs in the first month, missed work every other day, have been extremely nauseated, depressed and felt on the verge of death at times but after 20 years of being told there is no cure and I will probably die from this, I am very grateful that I have stayed the course. I suggest this treatment with the following; start on an anti depressant before you start treatment, if the side effects get so bad insist the doc lower the dose (we lowered my dose to half after 2 months and it made a big difference, and finally be in prayer, all things are possible with Jesus Christ.
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i've had hep c since 8 years old after a blood transfusion, wasn't detected until i turned 22,
started treatment at 1500000 RNA and at week 12 was negative, i just finished the course. i have to say that my first shot was an awful experience, fever, headache, chills, pain everywhere, basically - torture. fortunately after that first shot i have had no side effects, except constantly wanting to eat and stomach (washroom) problems every once in a while...so good luck to everyone, i'll see how i did in 3 months
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I got my Hep C from a transfusion in 1984, in 2000 I was diagnosed with the disease and didn't start the Interferion treatment until 2003 when my viral load warranted it. After the 6 month course of injections I was viral load free. Now I have developed symptoms of MS. The Hep C attacks the nerve conduction coating in the brain and this is what I believe allowed the MS to take over. I now see that one of the treatments for MS is Interferion, how ironic.
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I´m following treatment since Nov 1st 2008: Interferon (180 micrograms Peginterferon alfa-a - brand: Pegays) + Ribavirina. Weekly injections of Interferon + 2-0-2 Ribavirina (200 mg each pill). Results unknown at this stage (will know by mid February). Transaminasas (name in spanish, sorry) are back to normal and that's a good sign. Treatment's side effects: basically unnoticeable. Only a slight insomnia that disappeared after 2 nights taking 1/2 Orfidal. No depression, no nausea .. nothing I read about. So if you are about to start, think that it does not affect everyone the same. And that a positive mindset is essential. Good luck !
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If you have HCV and lucky to be offered free/affordable treatment (research shows private purchase of peg-2a & ribavirin 1200 mg day runs about 3000 GBP or USD monthly) and you are debating whether treatment side effects/life style adjustments may be too difficult to handle...please consider the alternative...progression of your disease & quite possilble shorter life span. I am a 41 year old male currently in week 7 of combination therapy & already have shown remarkable improvement (4 weeks post weekly 180 mcg peg-2a & daily 1200 mg ribavirin lab results show zero virus in my blood). Of course this is individual; my infection is new (acquired only 6 months ago) and I fortunately had an acute & violent reaction just 4 weeks after initial infection. I was incredibly sick which allowed doctors to detect this nasty virus so soon and offer me treatment. I have genotype 1a and initial viral load 130,000 copies. My doctors insist I continue with the full course of 48 weeks which I'm determined to complete.

My first 2 injections of interferon were absolutely nightmarish and a living hell!! An overwhelming sense of depression, sadness, dirtiness, unworthiness takes over just 4-6 hours after injection. Flu-like symptoms including fever & continuous runny nose last for a few days. Confusion, agitation, irritation, muscle & joint pain, persistent headache. I was saying rude & mean things to people & later could not recount them. This truely was awful and I needed to see a therapist quickly to reassure me these unwanted physical & psychological feelings were chemically induced and within time I will manage them. The Ribavirin took a few weeks to get used to as initially they made me sick to my stomach and soon after taking zaps all of my available energy. Sometimes my breathing is labored and I need to rest, take naps. I find I can no longer adapt well to crowds like sport events, market sales, even food shopping becomes an all day project. Keep in mind the more severe the symptoms, the medication is working well!! (this is what my hepitologist tells me) Unfortunately I have developed restlessness at night, constant figiting, and have many sleepless nights. I deal with it the best I can taking Celebrex for the muscle/joint pain and acetaminophin/codeine for the flu like symptoms. I'm happy to say the severe depression has not returned and my partner is with me every weekend for injection and reminds me if I'm becoming in a foul or sad mood. I rest as often as possilbe and not presently doing any heavy exercise. I take walks to take in fresh air & hydrate often with water as this helps eleviate the headaches. Warm baths with oil & salts help with the body aches. Moisturize the skin often as these meds are not kind to your skin, hair, nails, teeth, gums, etc.

Overall I am very happy starting and maintaining treatment and taking control of my life. I realize treatment is a very personal decission & not possible for everyone. However it is far better to try treatment as you are successful at any stage just by making the effort than to have not tried at all. Best of luck to us all!!
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Im 3 months into treatment after acquiring HCV in a needle stick injury. I feel like I'm dying I really do, I have trouble breathing and cant function at any level. I cant sleep only getting around 3 hours every 3 or 4 days I feel like im in a waking nightmare most of the day. There is no support at all and the doctors even refuse to give me something to help me sleep. I'm undetectable now and was after just 4 weeks after having a viral load of 250000 copies and I'm praying the doctors will allow me to come off the treatment after 6 months if I remain undetectable. I do feel suicidal some days I just wish I would die but somehow I'm slowly getting through. Its a terrible treatment but its a terrible illness and if it cures me I will consider it worth it, if it kills me theres nothing else to worry about. When considering this treatment remember its the only cure there is.
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I have been on Pegasus and Ribavirin for 32 weeks. My treatment plan is for 48 weeks. I am also co-infected with HIV and am diagnosed with deep depression and anxiety. I have been prescribed a weekly injection of Epogen for the shortness of breath, low hemoglobin. The added depression to my general feeling of melancholy has been the hardest to deal with. I realize the assed feelings of depression are a chemically induced side effect. Ambien has helped me sleep but still feel fatigued and short on energy. I am very much looking forward to treatment ending in July and the secession of the the increased depression. I hold onto that hope and it get me through each day. I live in Minneapolis and ther is a support group called Liver Hope
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To whom it may concern

My revered mother has been diagnosed with HCV and asked to start having pegasus Interferon once in a week till 48 weeks.

It costs me a lot and extremely difficult to arrange. Can anybody tell me any source whom I can approach to have these injections either free of cost or on subsidised rates ??

I would appreciate if anybody assist me in this regard.

Thanks,

Nadeem
Karachi, Pakistan
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Me, blood transfusion in 1979 after an accident, diagnosed with hep C in 2003, Liver is in last stage/sorosis...I need this to work!
For those of you who are starting the treatment or are about to...side effects are different for everyone. I am on attempt #3. The first treatment was 6 months of Peg interferon/Ribovarin, the 2nd was 1 year, with increased dose of Ribovarin. Both of these showed undetectable levels after the first 4 weeks. But returned after the completion of the treatment +6 months to retest. Needless to say, my Dr is now wanting to try 2 years 270 mcg (1.5X) of Pegusus and 2X dose for Ribovarin. I have now been on this for 3 months. So far, the side effects have been more milder than Peg Interferon. But I did learn lessons from previous treatments. Here is what I have done to get by. Taking my injection Sunday evening, prescribed sleeping medication. Getting a good nights sleep is VERY important. Drinking lots of water and taking Tylenol for fever and aches as needed. I also get a touch of stomach upset after eating sometimes, known as Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). I have overcome this with a daily drink of Orange flavored Citrucel fiber. Many days I feel run down and don't feel like doing much, but the more I require myself to do, the better I feel. Lying around made me feel worse and some depressed. I hear it can be fatal for others. Try to stay active, but don't over do it. My boss also has allowed me to work from home the days I feel worse. Consider that if it is an option for you.
I hope this experience has been of help. Good luck and God Bless to the others on the treatment, and REMEMBER...it will be worth it in the end.
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I was on pegasus too---it nearly killed me.The doctor administering it didnt heed any warnings.1st week major fever which in the literature is dangerous. my bed was saturated for 2 days--then 2 weeks later hundreds of small sores broke out--still the dr administering in RAH IN ADELAIDE AUSTRALIA did nothing.then swelling and that was caused by it stuffing up the protien levels.then my skin was burnt from the inside out and was peeling fine skin so much had to vacuum the bed 2-3 times a day--was bed ridden many months to at least 6 months.I stopped it on my own will but the effects kept worsening---if you think stopping it will stop side effects think again--my immune system went down and still is--7 months have passed and have major skin problems with the interferon affecting the skin cells.I have large sores not healing and just had biopsy done and the result was that the skin cells are infected thru out the body and where the sores are I was told by the results that a toxin has caused them.I dont know wether I will survive it but positve at the moment. My life was in the balance for many weeks the doctor told me.I was not informed of just how dangerous this stuff is.I am now looking to take legal action.This stuff shouldnt be on the market period.I read somewhere earlier 150 people died from it and 450 odd had major side effects requiring hospitalisation and operations like limph glands.My friend who is a head nurse said to me"if this is what it is doing on the outside of the body whats happening inside.The skin specialist who seen me after i stopped was amazed they didnt get me in faster to see him--he was very upset and he is on the same floor as the clinic--one wonders if they were trying to cover up.My advise dont go to the RAH IN ADELAIDE and research b4 you start.The pain was very very bad and still is as all my nerve ending under the skin are damaged and its like ants crawling under the skin--I am hoping it will go away but no one knows and thats the same for the sores, immune system.
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Hi Everyone
My Mum started Hepatitus C treatment at the end of october and we have nearly done 9 months of treatment which is great and only 2 months to go.Thankfuly on the third month the virus was undetectable! She went through minor hair loss, horrid headaches,terrible aches and pain, suicidal thoughts, fatigue, depression,rage,exhaustion,anxiety, paranoia,memory loss and many other horrid side effects.
The 3rd month was the worst but everything we've been through together was worth it and remember most peoples side effects aren't as bad and later on in the treatment it gets a lot anad a lot and alot better that before!.................
Also we are extremely grateful that the medication was a minimal cost thanks to the lord.
Its really hard for people living with others with hepatitis C but i am a great support to her and everyone else going through it remember it will get better and hang in there just a bit longer coz when you cured it will be so worth it :-D xoxoxoxoxo bubblesrg
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Hi Everyone,

I am a Hep B patient who contracted the virus from an ex-partner, after being consultated by two different doctors and specialist - they were finally able to determine but where not able to put me on the Interferons until my condition worsened, which it did over a span of 6 months of very bad fatigue, lack of concentration etc. Started my treatment of Pegasys Interferon as of June 2009 and have until April 2010 and I can honestly say that its not something that I would recomment lightly.

I have had lack of sleep, headaches, days of which I can not get out of bed due to the anemia that this gives you. I know that this is doing good things for my liver which in turn will make me a healther person for my future BUT being a very active person - I have had to re-adjust alot of my daily routine and work to cope with some of the symptoms that I get from the Interferons. Most of my weekends are kept for sleeping as I inject weekly on Friday nights. I am constantly having to take panadols for the headachs daily which prior to the medication painkillers would never have entered my life - going from being 100% healthy and active to being 70% or even 60% is such a downer and I can understand why this medication can lead to depression because you really are not the same.

April next year marks a better and healthier mark for me and although I am probably not as worse off as some other Hepatitis patients, Interferons are heavy medication and if you are going to take them, don't take your specialist advise lightly when you are consulting them about it all. Every information is valuable and then decide on what is best for you.
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