Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide
Getting ready for treatment
Managing treatment for hepatitis C (Hep C) is much easier when a person’s life is as stable as it can be and they have the support they need. There are a number of factors that can be addressed to help a person be ready for treatment.
Hep C treatments that contain peg-interferon can cause depression in some people.
If a person is currently depressed or has been depressed in the past, or if they have a close family member with a history of mental health issues, they may want to talk to their doctor about options for treating depression prior to starting Hep C treatment.
After Hep C treatment ends, if a person is taking antidepressants they can talk to their doctor about when it is safe to stop taking the antidepressants.
Access to support and counselling is valuable for people who are struggling with their emotional health while on treatment.
Access to a multi-disciplinary team made up of nurses, doctors, mental health workers, social workers, outreach workers and people living with Hep C can prevent mental health issues from being a barrier to getting through treatment.
In some places there are support groups for people living with Hep C that meet on a regular basis. If a person has access to the Internet they can also find Hep C support groups online. Family and friends may be a source of support for some people as well.
Some pharmaceutical companies provide phone support to help people complete treatment.
Spiritual or religious support
Some people may find that their spiritual or religious beliefs can help them cope as they go through treatment.
They may want to connect with a spiritual support person or leader, such as an Aboriginal Elder, an imam, a priest, a rabbi or other religious leaders.
Plan for taking Hep C medications
Some Hep C treatment combinations require people to take several medications multiple times per day.
To stay on top of the treatment regimen, it’s good to have a plan. Some people may want to practice their treatment schedule with Smarties or another candy to get in the habit of taking the medications and to figure out if there is anything that might get in the way of the schedule.
People who use street drugs may want to change some of their drug use habits to ensure that they can take their medications at the same time every day. This may include getting support for decreasing or stopping drug use.
For more information on taking Hep C medications see, Tips for staying on track with treatment.
Having a place to stay
While a person is on treatment, having a place to live can make it easier to stick to the medication schedule.
If a person does not have a home, it is still possible to go on Hep C treatment. They may need to arrange to store their medication at a harm reduction program or health centre. It may also be possible to visit the pharmacy every day to pick up the Hep C medications.
Help with the cost of treatment
Hep C treatment can be expensive. For more information on options to cover the cost of Hep C medications, see Treatment coverage in your region.