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TOPIC: Pill number 1 today

Pill number 1 today 3 weeks 4 days ago #27918

  • KarenB
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Hello guys,
after few months of active reading of the forum, I got my generic Harvoni pills through fixhepc and just started pill Number 1 this morning, like 1 hour ago :) I’ve read so many different things about side-effects or no-side-effects that have probably scared me enough and are creating some placebo at the moment :) But I try to rely on my doctor’s opinion who told me that no adverse effects are expected :)

Short background: I’m 40 year old female, probably have this for about 20 years, Gen 1b, no fibrosis, no symptoms, enzymes were in normal ranges all throughout the years, started for the first time to be slightly elevated in the last 6 months, which raised the flag to stop the waiting and look for a solution, which eventually led me to discover this site and the road to the generic pills. I’m utterly happy and thankful for this group, it was bringing comfort, knowledge and reassurance even before I decided to treat.

I have 2 questions at the start of the treatment. I might probably have more along the way :)
I did a blood count test this week, and apart of slightly elevated enzymes, I have quiet low iron level. My doctor told me that it’s not alarming, to still start Harvoni and try to address the iron with food, not supplements, which is what I aim to do.

My question is: is it known that Harvoni can have any further impact to iron levels or not? I’m just a bit worried, not to have them drop even more. And the other question is: is it OK with the Harvoni pills if I put myself on foods that would be high with iron: lots of greens, juicing in the morning, liver, meats, eggs, etc? What about iron supplements- if it becomes absolutely necessary?

That's for now. Hoping this to go smoothly....
83 more days to go :)
Best luck and good health to all of you guys!
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Pill number 1 today 3 weeks 4 days ago #27919

  • Hazel
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Hi KarenB, welcome

Big day when you take the first pill! Geno 1b has great cure rates. Drinking plenty of water and sticking to a routine is the main advice. I had to take iron supplements a couple of times a week as well as iron rich foods, with vit C for a long time, including on treatment.

all the best, let us know how it is going
Genotype 3 30 years, 2x treatment interferon/ribavirin non responder. Cirrhosis 17 years. Fibroscan, decompensating, 40 down to 22 by 29/3/16- now down to 6.5, normal, no cirrhosis. Started Buyers Club Sof/Dac 14 Nov 15. SVR 12 29/0716
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Pill number 1 today 3 weeks 4 days ago #27920

  • KarenB
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Dear Hazel hi,
thanks for the welcome and the words of comfort. Your path is also inspirational, wish to be over it myself too, I've lived with the worry of this for so long that it's like a dream, like something impossible, at this point...

I have a slight headache today which might be or might not be linked with the first pill. Or it simply may be out of the fear and excitement surrounding "the start of treatment":)
I've agreed with my doc to do monthly blood tests to see how the iron and the liver enzymes will stand. She told me to do the HCV RNA just 12 weeks after treatment not before, but I'm not sure if I will resist the curiosity to check it before....

Lets see, I'll be taking it easy for the moment....
All the best to you too, I will be around here these days, any advice or word of experience from you guys who have been through this, means a lot. Thank you!
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Pill number 1 today 3 weeks 3 days ago #27921

  • Mar
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Hi Karen, welcome to the forum and congratulations on starting treatment :) . I understand what you mean by it being like a dream, it's like you can't believe you may finally get rid of Hep C. But with cure rates of over 90% with these modern medications, it will hopefully be a reality very soon.

Regarding side effects, they are generally quite mild. Hazel gave you good advice, drink plenty of water. There is reasonable coverage of what to expect in terms of side effects here: fixhepc.com/treatment-side-effects.html

Dr. Freeman, FixHepC's founder, has described what to expect in a previous thread too, here is what he said :
For most people, it goes like this. For the first few days, you feel something is happening. It's a bit like the feeling you get before you get influenza - you know, that I'm not quite right, but can't put my finger on it.
At this stage, some people (1 in 5) will have a headache and feel a bit unwell (aching joints).
Then it just goes away. This corresponds to the drugs wiping out most of the virus.
Then most people feel better than they have for years.
About 1 in 5 people have problems sleeping, which does make people tired.
Other than that, it's pretty much like taking any other antibiotic. Some people get an upset stomach, the occasional person gets an itchy rash.
All up, it's generally smooth sailing, with little in the way of noticeable side effects other than feeling better.

Best of luck and please keep us updated on your progress.
Last Edit: 3 weeks 3 days ago by Mar.
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Pill number 1 today 3 weeks 3 days ago #27922

  • KarenB
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Hi Mar,
thanks so much for your welcome and all advices. Means so much!

Day 2 pill 2. I took it in the morning and went for a long bike ride. I realized that it's better to stay active, not overthink and do my routine as usual. So far so good. Feeling just OK, energy levels as usual. But it's early so lets hope to stay like this:)

All the best to you!
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Pill number 1 today 3 weeks 3 days ago #27923

  • DrJames
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Hi KarenB,

Welcome to the forum.

To answer your questions, first I note you said
My doctor told me that it’s not alarming

So you probably don't really even have to worry. Do you know the ferritin, iron, transferrin and saturation numbers?

Harvoni will not impact your iron level

Iron from animal meat sources is better absorbed than from vegetable sources but the vast majority of vegetarians are not iron deficient so either sort of diet generally works

Iron supplements should only be used if absolutely necessary because they are not natural (and natural tends to be better), they often upset peoples digestion (stomach pains) and they will turn your faeces black. The Iron+Vitamin C ones work best.

Given you are 40 and (from your name) a female it's probable you are still menstruating. For most women who are pre-menopausal and iron deficient, the cause is heavy periods. If you are using an oral contraceptive your periods can be quite safely stopped by skipping the sugar pills and having (say) one period every 6 months when you take the sugar pills. That fixes the problem at the source.

Best of luck with the treatment. It's generally smooth sailing to cure.
YMMV
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Pill number 1 today 3 weeks 3 days ago #27924

  • KarenB
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Dear DrJames hi,
thank you for your answer! And thank you for all you've done to make this community, for granting access to information and treatment to people who would have otherwise stayed isolated, hopeless and without a chance to try to heal (because they cant afford or because the health systems in their countries suck)

Glad to hear that Harvoni itself does not impact iron levels.

I also hope that low iron levels don't impact harvoni do its work in next 3 months:)

To your question, I dont have those numbers (ferritin, transferin etc) I have the serum iron levels under the normal range, hemoglobin to the low border of the range.

You are probably right that this is, very likely, linked to heavy periods. I am not taking oral contraceptive and dont intend to. I have avoided any kind of medicines most of my life, specially after being diagnosed with hepc, trying to be tender with the liver, as much as possible:)

I think I already ate healthy so far, but will try to focus on iron rich foods. Much looking forward to better test results in a month, hopefully the enzymes to go down and to be on the right path of killing the bug:) My hepatologist told me to just check enzymes during treatment, and do the HCV RNA only 3 months after Im done, not before. I think I will follow her advice, as I think it would only make me nervous if I overdo it during treatment and dont see yet what I want to see. I will wait to finish and than test. Do you think that's reasonable or any other thought? Cause, I was thinking, whatever the viral load says during treatment, there's nothing much to do about.

Thanks much & many warm regards!
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